Up to 10% of children ages 2 to 5 have untreated cavities. More than half of teens ages 12 to 19 have had tooth decay in at least one of their permanent teeth. A quarter of adults ages 20 to 64 have untreated cavities. More than 90% of adults have had tooth decay.
You may think that the worst consequence of poor dental health would be tooth loss and painful moments in the dentist's chair. However, some studies have linked common oral problems with diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, premature birth, osteoporosis, and even Alzheimer's disease. In most cases, the exact strength and nature of the bond is unclear, but they suggest that dental health is important to preserving overall health. By reducing the body's resistance to infections, diabetes puts the gums at risk.
Gum disease seems to be more common and serious among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control. Tell your dentist about the medications you take and about changes in your general health, especially if you have been ill recently or if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.