FOR PATIENTS

Gum Disease and Diabetes

 

Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications.

People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don't have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.

A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that poorly controlled type 2 diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease than well-controlled diabetics are.

Research has emerged that suggests that the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes goes both ways - periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications. Thus, diabetics who have periodontal disease should be treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.

This recommendation is supported by a study reported in the Journal of Periodontology in 1997 involving 113 Pima Indians with both diabetes and periodontal disease. The study found that when their periodontal infections were treated, the management of their diabetes markedly improved.