Possible Link Between Diabetes & Gum Disease

The New York Times (2/23, Rabin, Subscription Publication) reports that a new study suggests periodontitis may be an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes, and given this, screening for type 2 diabetes at dental offices may be beneficial. In the study involving 313 patients at a dental clinic in Amsterdam, researchers found that “nearly half of the patients with any degree of periodontitis had blood sugar tests indicating they had pre-diabetes, a condition that can progress to full-blown diabetes.” A simple finger stick analysis “can help with early diabetes screening,” said Dr. Wijnand J. Teeuw, first author of the study, which is published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

        MedPage Today (2/22, Minerd) reports the study suggests that “screening periodontitis patients in the dentist’s office with a glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) test may help identify undiagnosed cases of diabetes and prediabetes.”

        In addition, HealthDay (2/23, Gordon) reports ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram said many people with uncontrolled diabetes see improvement when their gum disease is under control, noting the benefits of preventive dental care. “Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once, and see your dentist periodically,” said Dr. Cram.