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The connection between diabetes and your risk of tooth decay

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of a variety of health issues, including tooth decay. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams spotlights research that may have figured out why.

Tooth brush and floss
Diabetes can increase your risk of tooth decay
Viv Williams
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ROCHESTER — If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you may be at an increased risk of tooth decay. A new study from Rutgers University may explain why: the disease may weaken tooth enamel and dentin, which is the substance under enamel that gives teeth structure. The process makes your teeth less durable.

“We’ve long seen elevated rates of cavity formation and tooth loss in patients with diabetes, and we’ve long known that treatments such as fillings do not last as long in such patients, but we did not know exactly why,” says Mohammad Ali Saghiri, an assistant professor of restorative dentistry at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

The researchers hope that learning more about how diabetes affects dental health will lead to treatments that can counter its negative impact.

“This is a particular focus of mine because the population of people with diabetes continues to grow rapidly,” Saghiri said. “There is a great need for treatments that will allow patients to keep their teeth healthy, but it has not been a major area for research.”

The research is published in the journal Archives of Oral Biology.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
When arctic blasts plummet temperatures, stepping outside can be dangerous. In this Health Fusion episode, Viv Williams talks to a researcher about what intensely cold air could do to anyone's lungs.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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