DIABETES AND PERIODONTAL DISEASE
It happened again just the other day. A friend bumped into a friend he hadn’t seen in a few weeks and was told that his friend had just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes – the kind where your body continues to make insulin but can’t use it properly. It seems like that’s happening to more and more people, and we shouldn’t be surprised. Experts estimate more than 20 million Americans have Type 2 Diabetes.1
In fact, the incidence of the Type 2 Diabetes has increased so rapidly in recent years that many doctors and researchers actually refer to Type 2 Diabetes as an epidemic in America. With numbers like that, you probably have friends or family members with the disease. Also, you probably know some of the things they need to do to protect themselves – like keeping their blood sugar down, losing weight, and exercising.
What you may not know is that there’s a real relationship between Type 2 Diabetes and Periodontal (gum) disease – a relationship that goes both ways, with Type 2 Diabetes increasing Periodontal disease and Periodontal disease increasing Type 2 Diabetes.2
Gum disease and diabetes
When you think about it, it’s easy to see how diabetes might make people more likely to get gum disease. Gum disease is a type of infection, and people with diabetes tend to be more susceptible to infections of all kinds.3
Research shows that people whose diabetes is not well controlled are even more at risk. In fact, a major study (the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) concluded that people with poorly controlled diabetes have a risk of gum infection that’s nearly three times higher than non-diabetics.4
A two-way street
Current research suggests that the relationship between gum disease and diabetes works both ways – and that periodontal disease may put people with diabetes at increased risk by making it more difficult for them to control their blood sugar level.6
That’s critically important because poorly controlled blood sugar can lead to some truly horrific problems like blindness, wounds that don’t heal, heart disease, kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, and even amputations. Fortunately, getting treatment for gum disease can help many people with diabetes achieve better blood sugar control – but all too often, people don’t realize they have a problem.
You see, gum disease isn’t always obvious. In fact, although a dentist can diagnose the problem with a simple screening, people often don’t have symptoms at all. So lots of them are living with an ongoing (and usually worsening) infection they don’t even suspect.
That’s a problem for anyone – but a huge threat to people with diabetes.
To protect themselves, people with diabetes need to see a dentist regularly, and they should make sure that their dentist knows about their disease.
Reminding diabetic friends and family members to take those two important steps could literally save their lives.
We want to do our part, as well. So we’ll be happy to perform a gum infection screening on your diabetic friend or family member to make sure an infection isn’t putting them in danger.
Diabetes is a serious condition. Don’t let someone you care about run the additional risk of untreated infection. Have them call us – or call us yourself—today.