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Keywords:

  • dental devices;
  • dental hygienists;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • home care

Abstract

Objectives

Given the existence of many potential oral health complications for adults with diabetes (especially for those who do not practise regular oral self-care), and the specific importance of regular interdental cleaning, the research determined the proportion of U.S. adults with diabetes who practise daily interdental cleaning and their socio-demographic, economic and oral health characteristics related to this practice.

Methods

Analyses were conducted using data collected from 573 dentulous adults with diabetes ≥ 30 years who participated in the U.S. 2009–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. Using complex sample survey software, findings were extrapolated to >15 million U.S. adults. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the frequency of interdental cleaning, and chi-square tests were used to identify salient individual characteristics related to this practice.

Results

41.2% reported that they never used any interdental device, while 24.8% indicated that they practised interdental cleaning daily. Statistically significant relationships (P < 0.05) with daily interdental cleaning included female sex, ever having had treatment for gum disease and using mouthwash daily for a dental problem.

Conclusions

Because so many adults with diabetes do not practise regular interdental cleaning, and in view of the important role that dental hygienists fulfil as oral healthcare educators, there is a great need for dental hygienists to teach and motivate adults with diabetes to practise regular interdental cleaning. This need is especially great for subgroups of these adults who are men, have not been treated for periodontitis and do not regularly use a mouthwash for dental problems.