Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

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November is American Diabetes Month

 Facts from the American Diabetes Association:

• Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.

• Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

• Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to Stop Diabetes.

• Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

• Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.

• Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.

• The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.

• About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.(1)

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, this can cause problems with other body functions, such as your kidneys, nerves, feet, and eyes. Having diabetes can also put you at a higher risk for heart disease and bone and joint disorders. Other long-term complications of diabetes include skin problems, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction, and problems with your teeth and gums. (2)

It has been reported previously that people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease, says Maria E. Ryan, DDS, PhD, professor of oral biology and pathology and director of clinical research at Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine. According to her new study, the reverse is also true: Gum disease can lead to insulin resistance.

Through their research, Ryan and her colleagues determined that gum infection could cause inflammatory chemicals around the teeth to enter the bloodstream and trigger insulin resistance. The researchers studied people with prediabetes (heightened blood glucose below what is considered diabetes) and found a direct association between their extent of insulin resistance and severity of periodontal disease. (3)

The warning signs of diabetes include frequent urination, extreme hunger, unusual thirst, extreme fatigue, frequent infections, blurred vision and weight loss. (4)

If you have diabetes, you are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal disease. Daily, thorough homecare of proper brushing, flossing and rinsing can reduce the risk of periodontal disease.


~Peggy, RDH