Periodontal disease associated with higher levels of insulin resistance, studies say
SATURDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- People with type 2 diabetes can help control the disease by taking better care of their teeth and gums.
That's the case dentists were expected to make at the American Diabetes Association's annual meeting in San Francisco this weekend.
"Several recent studies have shown that having periodontal disease makes those with type 2 diabetes more likely to develop worsened glycemic control, and puts them at much greater risk of end-stage kidney disease and death," George W. Taylor, an associate professor of dentistry at the University of Michigan schools of Dentistry and Public Health, said in a prepared statement. "Given the numerous medical studies showing that good glycemic control results in reduced development and progression of diabetes complications, we believe there is the potential that periodontal treatment can provide an increment in diabetes control and subsequently a reduction in the risk for diabetes complications," he said.
Intensive periodontitis intervention, for example, can significantly lower one's levels of A1C, a measure of long-term glucose control.
"We have found evidence that the severity of periodontal disease is associated with higher levels of insulin resistance, often a precursor of type 2 diabetes, as well as with higher levels of A1C," dentist Maria E. Ryan, director of clinical research at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in New York, said in a prepared statement.
Periodontal, or gum, disease is an infection and chronic inflammatory disease of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. As it is painless, most people don't know they have it, yet it is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Among the studies to be discussed linking gum disease and diabetes are:
"When glycemia has been difficult to control, the physician might consider asking patients when they last saw their dentist, whether periodontitis has been diagnosed and, if so, whether treatment has been completed," Ryan said. "A consultation with the dentist may be appropriate, to discuss whether periodontal treatment has been successful or whether a more intensive approach with oral or sub-antimicrobial antibiotics is in order because, just as it is difficult to control diabetes while the patient has an infected leg ulcer, the same applies when there's infection and inflammation of the gums."
The American Academy of Periodontology has more about gum disease.
-- Kevin McKeever
SOURCE: American Diabetes Association, news release, June 6, 2008
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