Diabetes and Dentistry
With more than 30.3 million diabetics and 57 million pre-diabetics in the United States, the connection between dental health and diabetes has never been more critical.
Diabetes is the fastest growing malady in the U.S., with someone being diagnosed every 21 seconds. One in eight households contain a diabetic. And the Centers for Disease Control predicts that one in three children born after the year 2000 will become diabetic in their lifetime.
The list of health implications from diabetes is long from increased risk of heart attack and stroke to blindness and kidney failure.
But did you know that diabetics are also twice as likely to develop gum disease, especially if their diabetes is not under control? Gum disease and diabetes can twist each other into a tight downward spiral of increasingly negative health effects. Through the automatic inflammatory response that the body uses to fight infection, gum disease can make it more likely that someone with pre-diabetes will become diabetic and can worsen existing diabetes.
These effects can continue to compound unless you, your physician, and your dentist work together as a health care team. People with diabetes and severe gum disease are nearly eight times more likely to die prematurely and more than three times as likely to die of combined heart and kidney failure. In people who have type 2 diabetes, gum disease is a predictor of end-stage kidney disease.
But the link between diabetes and dentistry can be positive and work in reverse as well. Clinical studies confirm that treatment of gum disease reduces oral inflammation, the factor that triggers the body’s inflammatory response, which plays a major role in compounding the effects of diabetes.
Treatment of gum infections has also been shown to help control blood sugar levels in diabetics. In many instances, through the use of treatments such as perio-protect, non surgical gum care, weight loss, and nutritional and supplementation programs, the damage to teeth and gums can be reversed, while also helping to manage the metabolic elements of diabetes.
So if you have gum disease whether you are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or asymptomatic a trip to the dentist could save your life.Through treatment, your dentist may be able to help prevent the onset of diabetes and/or help you keep your diabetes under control improving your quality of life while also avoiding potential health complications and reducing the risk of premature death.