Poor Oral Health and Quality of Life in Older U.S. Adults with Diabetes Mellitus

Authors

  • Deborah L. Huang MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington
    2. Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    • Address correspondence to Deborah L. Huang, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (S-182-GRECC), Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, 1660 S. Columbian Way, Seattle, WA 98108. E-mail: huangdx@u.washington.edu

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  • Kwun Chuen Gary Chan PhD,

    1. Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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  • Bessie A. Young MD, MPH

    1. Epidemiologic Research and Information Center, Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence, Hospital and Specialty Medicine, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington
    2. Division of Nephrology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
    3. Kidney Research Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
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Abstract

Objective

To determine the association between health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and oral health in older U.S. adults with diabetes mellitus (DM).

Design

Cross-sectional.

Setting

Data from the U.S. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2006, 2008, and 2010.

Participants

Nationally representative sample of 70,363 adults aged 65 and older with DM.

Results

Older adults with DM were more likely to report permanent tooth loss due to caries or periodontal disease than those without (82.3% vs 74.3%, < .001) and less likely to receive dental care in the past year (59.0% vs 70.9%, < .001). Loss of permanent teeth from caries or periodontal disease was associated with 1.25 times greater odds of worse self-rated general health (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.13–1.37). Lack of dental care in the preceding 12 months was associated with 1.34 times greater odds of worse self-rated general health (95% CI = 1.25–1.44) than receiving dental care in the preceding 12 months. Poor dentition and longer time since last dental visit were associated with more physically unhealthy days.

Conclusions

Poor dentition and lack of dental care were associated with worse HRQOL in older adults with DM. Further research is needed to determine whether better oral health improves HRQOL in this population.

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