Dental and health researchers continue to study the known link between periodontal disease and Type II diabetes, and to explore ways in which periodontal health can factor into diabetes control.  A joint report published by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) offers more detailed information about how health professionals can help patients manage the two chronic diseases (consensus report published here).

The AAP website offers patients a simplified explanation of the connection between gum health and diabetes management:

Diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications.

Research has suggested that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways – periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts people with diabetes at increased risk for diabetic complications.

With timely periodontal check-ups and regular dental maintenance, a periodontist and patient can effectively be managed. According to AAP President Stuart J. Froum, DDS:

“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 [comprehensive periodontal examination] from a dental professional at least once a year.”