NEW YORK – In support of American Diabetes Month, Colgate Total is partnering with Yolanda Adams, the multi-GRAMMY award-winning Gospel artist and host of “Wellness Wednesday” on her syndicated radio show, Yolanda Adams Live, to educate African Americans about the possible connection between diabetes and gum disease and to empower them to help take charge of their diabetes.

A recent survey about oral health reveals a lack of awareness about the various health issues associated with diabetes. One third of all respondents (32%) were not aware of the possible connection between diabetes and oral health and were less likely to associate oral health issues with diabetes than almost all other health conditions related to diabetes. More than half (54%) reported one or more symptoms of gum disease, yet 67% do not discuss their oral health with a healthcare professional. The survey also noted that when informed, African Americans are more likely to become concerned and say they plan to pay more attention to their oral health issues.

Adams, a health and wellness advocate, and other healthcare professionals will be leading the effort in African American and Black church communities, encouraging everyone to join the “Take Charge” campaign, an initiative presented by Colgate Total® to help increase awareness of oral care for Americans living with diabetes.

“I want to help educate African Americans who are living with diabetes,” said Adams. “People with diabetes are highly susceptible to bacterial infection; and many do not know that they are at greater risk for gum disease. It is so important that those living with diabetes or who have family members living with the disease know how to manage their dental health. People need to understand the connection between diabetes and dental health and be willing to work with their healthcare providers. This enables them to take charge of their diabetes to prevent and treat gum disease.”

Over half of African Americans (55%) surveyed said it is very important for them to have family support in helping them manage their diabetes and almost two-thirds (63%) agreed that it is very important that their family was aware of the health issues related to diabetes. Family support and awareness of health issues is significantly more important for African Americans than Caucasians.

Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • Thirty percent (30%) African Americans reported a decline in their oral health since being diagnosed with diabetes, which is almost double the decline reported by Caucasians (16%).
  • 66% of respondents were 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%) said they plan to pay more attention to their oral healthcare.
  • More than half (59%) of all respondents and 44% of African Americans respondents reported that they were not personally concerned about gum disease, and only 38% of people with diabetes, but 53% of African Americans, said that they pay “a great deal” of attention to their oral health and dental care.
  • African Americans and Hispanics were more likely than Caucasians to say they pay “a great deal” of attention to their oral health and dental care (53% of African-Americans and 46% of Hispanics vs. 34% of Caucasians).
  • African Americans (19%) are much more likely to rely on friends/family for information about oral health than are Caucasians (11%) or Hispanics (15%). They are also more likely to rely on magazines or newspapers (20%) and TV shows (17%) for oral care information than Caucasians (9% and 2%).
  • African Americans and Hispanics are eager for more information compared to Caucasians; 23% of Caucasians, compared to 40% of African Americans and 43% of Hispanics, said they “have some information about the possible link between oral health/dental care and diabetes but would like more.”

“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®.[i] “As the only toothpaste FDA-approved and American Dental Association-accepted to help prevent gingivitis,* which is the most common form of gum disease,[ii] Colgate Total® is a good choice for people with diabetes.”

For more information and resources on how to manage oral health and diabetes, visit


The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), known as the Black Press of America, is the federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers in the United States.