In a study from Rutgers University, scientists found out why people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are prone to tooth decay.
The findings point to reduced strength and durability of enamel and dentin, the hard substance under enamel that gives structure to teeth.
In the study, researchers induced type 1 diabetes in 35 mice and compared their teeth with those of 35 healthy controls over 28 weeks.
Although the two groups started with comparable teeth, enamel grew much softer in the diabetic mice after 12 weeks, and the gap continued to widen throughout the study.
Big differences in dentin microhardness arose by week 28.
Scientists have long seen elevated rates of cavity formation and tooth loss in patients with diabetes. Treatments such as fillings do not last as long in such patients, but they did not know exactly why.
The study advances a multiyear effort from the researchers to understand how diabetes affects dental health and to develop treatments that counter its negative impact.
Previous studies have found that people with both types of diabetes have very elevated rates of most oral health issues, both in the teeth and the soft tissues that surround them.
The researchers have also shown that diabetes can interfere with the ongoing process of adding minerals to teeth as they wear away from normal usage.
The study was conducted by Mohammad Ali Saghiri et al and published in the Archives of Oral Biology.
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