For regular readers of our Portland City Dental blog, you know the connection that exists between our oral and overall health. In recent years, a number of studies have found significant links between poor oral health and a range of chronic health conditions that include cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and dementia. Now another study has reinforced the findings that adults with type 2 diabetes and microvascular complications – such as coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, and stroke – have a higher risk for developing severe periodontitis compared to patients without microvascular complications.
The results of this latest study were published in the Journal of Periodontology.
Further Evidence Emerges
Poor blood sugar control has also been linked with the prevalence and severity of periodontitis in adults suffering from type 2 diabetes, according to researchers. The bigger question, however, is what comes first? Does periodontitis increase our risk of diabetes or does diabetes cause periodontal disease? The answer to this question has currently eluded researchers over the past decade. Just in the last few years, the journal Diabetes in Control has published over a dozen articles that sought to answer this very question.
In one recent study, researchers in Japan evaluated more than 620 adults dealing with type 2 diabetes who also tested positive for diabetes to determine any association between periodontitis, microvascular complications, and blood sugar control.
In total, over 34 percent of the participants suffered from retinopathy, 25 percent had nephropathy, and 29 percent had neuropathy. Fifty percent of all participants has some kind of microvascular complication. Blood sugar level control was poor among 47 percent of participants, fair in 24 percent, good in 21 percent, and excellent in just 6 percent.
When compared with participants without microvascular complications, participants with all three types of complications had a higher rate of periodontitis, but no significant difference was identified for the prevalence of periodontist between participants without microvascular complications and those with one or two.
Study participants that suffered from poor blood sugar control had a greater rate of periodontitis (71 percent) when compared with participants with excellent blood sugar control. Severe periodontitis was more prevalent in participants with poor blood sugar control (40 percent) compared to those with fair glycemic control (28 percent), and excellent glycemic control (28 percent). Participants with poor, good, and fair blood sugar control had more severe cases of periodontitis when compared to patients whose blood sugar control was excellent.
The data suggests that controlling periodontal disease can also help patients better control their diabetes. This makes it important that the signs and symptoms of diabetes are pointed out to patients so they can better understand the impact maintaining their oral health can have on anyone suffering with diabetes.
Improving Oral Health Helps Control Diabetes
A number of studies have found a positive relationship between poor blood sugar control in diabetics with an increased risk of periodontitis. These studies provide compelling evidence that individuals suffering from type 1 or 2 diabetes have a much higher risk of developing severe gum disease when compared to patients without the disease. Research has also suggested that the control of periodontal disease can play a vital role in the control of diabetes.
If you or a member of your family suffers from diabetes, it’s important to understand the vital role maintaining your oral health can have in controlling your diabetes. If you have any questions about the relationship between your oral health and diabetes, feel free to ask Dr. Bajuscak during your next appointment at Portland City Dental.
Regular checkups and screenings play an important part in protecting your long-term oral and overall health. If you suffer from diabetes, but haven’t recently seen a dentist, you need to schedule an appointment immediately. Delaying receiving dental care can not only put the health of your teeth and gums at risk, it could also allow your diabetes to spiral out of control.