Periodontal Health an Important Factor in Better Diabetes Control

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A new consensus report from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) finds that periodontal health may play an important role in the management of diabetes. The report outlines clinical recommendations for dental professionals to use when treating people with diabetes and emphasizes the importance of annual comprehensive periodontal evaluations (CPE) as part of an effective diabetes management program. The consensus report is based on a large body of scientific evidence that suggests periodontal health may be helpful in controlling diabetes.

“The relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes is a bit of a catch-22,” says Dr. Stuart J. Froum, DDS, President of the AAP, clinical professor and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Periodontics and Implant Dentistry at New York University Dental Center. “People living with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. At the same time, periodontal disease makes it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their symptoms because it can impair the body’s ability to process and/or utilize insulin.”    

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an inflammatory condition that if left untreated may cause damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss. In addition to diabetes, periodontal disease has been linked to other systemic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Both periodontal disease and diabetes present serious public health problems, with millions of Americans affected by one or both of these conditions,” says Dr. Froum. “With what we now know about the impact periodontal health has on diabetes management, it is crucial for people diagnosed with diabetes to maintain healthy teeth and gums. This includes diligent home care, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, as well as receiving a CPE from a dental professional at least once a year. Treatment of periodontal disease in patients with diabetes has been shown to improve control of the disease.”