A person receives a test for diabetes during Care Harbor LA free medical clinic in Los Angeles, California September 11, 2014. Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Pioneering research has revealed that adults with diabetes are more prone to tooth loss and in fact lose twice as many teeth as adults without the condition. The research suggests that this trend is even more pronounced among non-Hispanic blacks.

The study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, shows a direct link between diabetes and tooth loss in adults. It concluded that substantial differences in tooth loss between adults with and without diabetes and across racial/ethnic groups persisted over time.

"Our study found that substantial differences in tooth loss between adults with and without diabetes have persisted over time," wrote the research team led by Huabin Luo of the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University.

The research, spread over 40 years (1971 to 2012), covered more than 37,000 people aged over 25. Using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data, the researchers found that as of 2012, an estimated 28.9 million adults over 20 years in the United States had diabetes. Interestingly, not only were people with diabetes older and had lower incomes and educational levels, they also had significantly more tooth loss.

According to the study, tooth loss was less of a problem among younger diabetics, possibly because of better access to dental care as well as more awareness and knowledge about oral health.

“We have more evidence that [poor] oral health is related to diabetes," said Bei Wu of Duke University in Durham, N.C., reports the Tech Times. She said that gum disease, which affects around half of the adults in the US, is a common complication in Type 2 diabetes. Those with diabetes have more gum disease, the ultimate consequence of which is tooth loss.

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