Diabetes and Dental Health

For the 24 million Americans who live with diabetes, the last thing any of them wants to hear is yet another complication linked with the condition. Unfortunately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has found that those with diabetes have an increased risk for periodontal disease, which therefore makes good dental health crucial for living well with the condition.

Recent research by the CDC has found that people living with diabetes are twice as likely to develop periodontal disease than those who do not. Since diabetics are more susceptible to bacterial infection, this includes being susceptible to infection of the gums. In addition, this situation is a double-edged sword, as severe periodontal disease–periodontitis–can affect blood sugar control and therefore push along the progression of the diabetes.

From the article:

“Overall, there is low awareness among the diabetes community about the association between oral health and the short and long-term implications it may have on a successful, comprehensive diabetes management plan,” said Dr. Maria Emanuel Ryan, a professor of oral biology and pathology at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. “One of the many complications of diabetes is a greater risk for periodontal disease. Poor control of diabetes can cause various adverse effects in the mouth, such as salivary gland dysfunction, dental caries and oral infections.  If you have oral infection and inflammation, it’s much more difficult to control blood glucose levels. Intensive periodontitis treatment significantly reduces levels of A1C, a measure of glucose control over the prior two to three months.”
As November is conveniently National Diabetes Awareness Month, if you know someone who has diabetes, please point them towards the above linked article or toward asking their doctor or dentist questions about their dental health. Diabetes complicates lives enough without having to worry about periodontal disease even if you practice good oral hygiene.

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