Posted on 22nd November 2018
The Links Between Periodontitis and Diabetes
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the gum and tooth structure which, if left untreated, can have serious complications – including tooth loss. Diabetes is a condition where the hormone insulin, responsible for regulating glucose levels in the blood, is either absent (type 1 diabetes) or ineffective (type 2 diabetes). Recent studies are suggesting a connection between these conditions.
Two Way Relationship
Fascinatingly, it seems that periodontitis and diabetes may be linked. Patients presenting with symptoms of diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. And certain symptoms of diabetes appear to be exacerbated in patients with periodontitis. One study found cases of macroalbuminuria (too much protein in the urine) and end stage renal disease were two to three times higher in diabetic patients with gum disease than those with healthy gums.
The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) are keen to publicise these links to improve public health. On the 14th November, World Diabetes Day, they released a statement outlining some of the facts about the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes:
- Gum disease increases the risk of diabetes by 20–30%.
- Uncontrolled diabetes triples the likelihood of gum disease.
- People with diabetes have poorer blood glucose control, more heart, brain, eye and kidney complications, and a shorter lifespan, if they also have gum disease.
- Successful gum treatment reduces blood sugar levels.
Preventing Gum Disease
The EFP also took the opportunity to reiterate advice on gum disease prevention:
- Clean between your teeth every day with an interdental brush or floss.
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day.
- Avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugar, and exercise.
- Visit your dentist twice a year.
They also added a new piece of advice aimed at people who already have diabetes: based on the evidence, controlling your blood sugar should reduce your chances of developing periodontal disease.
If you are a diabetic patient and you are interested in improving health outcomes by controlling periodontal disease, please get in touch. You can call our clinic on 01603 632525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read More about the perio and diabetes campaign on the EFP website.