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Scientific Research Review

Delta Dental Research Confirms Association Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Emerging science calls for more periodontal maintenance

As part of its ongoing objective to stay on the cutting edge of emerging dental science and the role that it plays in dental plan designs, Delta Dental commissioned the University of Michigan School of Dentistry to conduct reviews of existing scientific research.

The first of the studies examined the emerging science showing associations between periodontal disease and gum disease. The end result was a comprehensive report citing strong evidence that diabetes can adversely affect periodontal disease. People with diabetes get periodontal disease more easily, and their periodontal disease gets worse faster than it does in non-diabetics. Periodontal disease may also be one of the reasons people get Type 2 or gestational diabetes.

Key Takeaways and What This Means For You

Encourage your patients to get regular periodontal maintenance and to be sure to inform you about any existing medical conditions that they have.

  • Diabetes can adversely affect periodontal disease. People with diabetes get periodontal disease more easily, and their periodontal disease gets worse faster than it does in non-diabetics. Emerging science indicates that gum disease may also be one of the reasons people get Type 2 or gestational diabetes.
     
  • It is important to treat periodontal disease to have a healthy mouth. It is also helpful for people with diabetes to lower the amount of sugar in their blood over the long term. Keeping blood sugar lower means they control their diseases better. If the gums are healthy some people might not get diabetes at all, or not get it so soon. A healthy mouth may even help people with diabetes to not get the very serious health problems that often come with diabetes.
     
  • Many people with periodontal disease or diabetes are not aware that they have the conditions, meaning that regular dental checkups are extremely important for the identification and treatment of periodontal disease.
     
  • Delta Dental recognizes that the evidence underscores the importance of managing periodontal diseases in diabetic patients, and therefore strongly advocates increased availability of periodontal services for people affected by this chronic disease. In order to provide access to appropriate levels of care, Delta Dental recommends that employers consider covering additional periodontal maintenance for their diabetic employees with a history of periodontal disease.