1602rdh 28

Fresh data about diabetes: NHANES studies help describe oral health disparities

Feb. 17, 2016
By Christine Nathe: NHANES studies help describe oral health disparities with patients who have diabetes.

NHANES studies help describe oral health disparities

More data was added to the knowledge base about dental health and diabetes. This data came from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1971 through 2012.1 As discussed before, NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States and is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It has the responsibility for producing vital and health data for the nation. Generally, the NHANES surveys include demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions.2

The trend study focused on the the estimated tooth loss in over 37,000 people with and without diabetes. Not surprisingly, adults with diabetes had about twice the tooth loss as those without diabetes. As far as oral health disparities among ethnic groups, the estimated number of teeth lost among non-Hispanic blacks with diabetes increased more with age than that among non-Hispanic whites with diabetes or Mexican Americans with diabetes. Between 1971-2012, there was a significant decreasing trend in the number of teeth lost among non-Hispanic whites with diabetes and non-Hispanic blacks with diabetes.

More information can be found on the actual survey. NHANES reports are excellent resources when assessing groups for potential dental hygiene interventions and can be used to help define a need when requesting funding for a dental public health program! RDH


1. Luo H, Pan W, Sloan F, Feinglos M, Wu B. Forty-Year Trends in Tooth Loss Among American Adults With and Without Diabetes Mellitus: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis. Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:150309. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd12.150309 on December 3, 2015.
2. NHANES retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm on December 3, 2015.

CHRISTINE NATHE, RDH, MS, is director at the University of New Mexico, Division of Dental Hygiene, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is also the author of "Dental Public Health Research" (www.pearsonhighered.com/educator), which is in its third edition with Pearson. She can be reached at [email protected] or (505) 272-8147.