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More Than One Third of Americans with Diabetes Unaware of Connection with Oral Health

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (October 17, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — In support of American Diabetes Month®, Colgate Total® is working with the American Diabetes Association to educate patients about diabetes and gum disease and to empower them to help take charge of their diabetes.

A recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Colgate Total® about oral health reveals a lack of awareness about the various health issues associated with diabetes. More than one third of all respondents (36%) are not aware of the link between diabetes and oral health and are less likely to associate oral health issues with diabetes than almost all other health conditions related to diabetes. More than half (54%) report one or more symptoms of gum disease – yet 67% do not discuss their oral health with their doctor.

“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 B. Gaines, RN, MSN, President-Elect, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association.

Healthcare professionals and celebrities alike have joined the campaign to help increase awareness of oral care for Americans living with diabetes. To share important information with the diabetes community, Colgate Total® presents the combined power of Dr. Natalie Strand, a physician who managed her diabetes while also winning a popular endurance reality TV show; Dr. Aliza Lifshitz, TV personality and Hispanic health advocate; and Yolanda Adams, multi-GRAMMY® award-winning Gospel artist.

“People with diabetes are at a greater risk for gum disease because they are more susceptible to bacterial infection due to their condition,” said Dr. Strand, assistant professor of clinical anesthesiology and practicing physician at University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine. “As a person with diabetes myself, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to manage this disease. It is important for people with diabetes to understand the oral health connection and to work with their healthcare providers to help take charge of their diabetes by both preventing and treating gum disease.”

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • 66% of respondents are unaware that people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease compared with those who do not have diabetes.

    • Upon hearing this information, the majority (56%) say they plan to pay more attention to their oral healthcare.

  • More than half (59%) of respondents report that they are not personally concerned about gum disease, and only 38% of people with diabetes say that they pay “a great deal” of attention to their oral health and dental care.

  • African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to say they are concerned about oral health/gum disease – only 36% of Caucasians say they are concerned, versus 56% of African-Americans and 52% of Hispanics.

“It’s promising to see that the vast majority of people with diabetes (88%) say that not all toothpaste is created equal,” said Philip Durocher, General Manager of Oral Care, Colgate Total®. “As the only toothpaste FDA-approved and American Dental Association-accepted to help prevent gingivitis,* which is the most common form of gum disease, Colgate Total® is a good choice for people with diabetes.”

For more information and resources on how to manage oral health and diabetes, visit or in Spanish.

About Gum Disease

Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to serious gum disease – also known as periodontitis – which is an infection below the gum line that destroys the soft tissue and bone that support teeth. This can eventually cause tooth loss. People living with diabetes are prone to many infections, including gum infections. One simple step to help control your gum health and to help prevent early gum disease is to brush for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste specially formulated for gum health, such as Colgate Total, and floss at least once a day.

About Colgate Total® Toothpaste

Colgate Total® toothpaste has a formula clinically proven to actively fight germs for 12 hours. It is the only toothpaste FDA-approved and American Dental Association-accepted to help prevent gingivitis.* Colgate Total® toothpaste also is the number-one toothpaste recommended most by dentists and hygienists. For more information about Colgate Total® toothpaste, visit

*Colgate Total is approved through the New Drug Application Process to help prevent plaque, gingivitis and cavities. Not approved for the prevention or treatment of serious gum disease or other diseases.

About Colgate-Palmolive Company

Colgate-Palmolive is a leading global consumer products company, tightly focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Colgate-Palmolive sells its products in over 200 countries and territories around the world under such internationally recognized brand names as Colgate, Palmolive, Mennen, Softsoap, Irish Spring, Protex, Sorriso, Kolynos, elmex, Tom’s of Maine, Sanex, Ajax, Axion, Soupline, and Suavitel, as well as Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet. For more information about Colgate-Palmolive’s global business, visit the Company’s web site at To learn more about Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures®, Colgate’s global oral health education program, please visit

About the Survey

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 657 U.S. adults, age 18+, who report being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The survey sample includes oversamples of 155 African Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and 161 Hispanics diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Data was weighted to be representative of U.S. adults with Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, the individual racial subcategories of Caucasians, African Americans and Hispanics with Type 2 diabetes were weighted individually to be representative of each subpopulation within the greater population of all Type 2 diabetes patients in the U.S. The survey was fielded September 5-13, 2012.

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