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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Oct;61(10):1782-8. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12452. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Poor oral health and quality of life in older U.S. adults with diabetes mellitus.

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  • 1Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington; Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.



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




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


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


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%, P < .001) and less likely to receive dental care in the past year (59.0% vs 70.9%, P < .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.


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.

© Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.


diabetes mellitus; health-related quality of life; oral health

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