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Colgate survey shows surprising lack of awareness around diabetes and oral health

Colgate Total and the American Diabetes Association teamed up to promote awareness for American Diabetes Month with a survey revealing people's knowledge — or lack thereof — about oral health and its association with diabetes.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 36% of respondents didn't know about the link between diabetes and oral health, and 66% of respondents didn't realize that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease.

"Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but gum disease may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis and gum disease," said Lurelean Gaines, president-elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association.

Another surprising find: Fifty-four percent of respondents reported one or more symptoms of gum disease, but only 33% discussed oral health with their doctor. This could be because more than half of them admitted they're not actually concerned about gum disease.

Other findings included:

  • Only 38% of people with diabetes reported that they pay "a great deal" of attention to their oral health and dental care;

  • The majority (56%) of respondents said they now planned to pay more attention to their oral health; and

  • African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to say they are concerned about oral health/gum disease.

In an effort to promote awareness of oral care for Americans living with diabetes, Colgate Total is presenting this new information with the help of Natalie Strand, a physician with diabetes who won season 17 of "The Amazing Race"; Aliza Lifshitz, TV personality and Hispanic health advocate; and Yolanda Adams, multi-Grammy award-winning Gospel artist.

For more information on maintaining oral health while living with diabetes, visit OralHealthAndDiabetes.com or SaludOralyDiabetes.com in Spanish.

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