You just finished your appointment at the periodontist. And it’s confirmed: You have periodontal (gum) disease.
So before you check out, the dental assistant asks if you would like to be tested for Diabetes.
Turns out a recent study, conducted by the University of Amsterdam, found that patients who had gum disease were 23% more likely to have Type 2 Diabetes.
They also stated that 47% of those patients were more likely to have pre-diabetes than those without gum disease.
The connection between Diabetes and periodontal disease has been well known.
Gum disease was once considered a complication of diabetes. Now research suggests it’s more of a two-way street. Periodontal disease actually can increase blood sugar – potentially leading to diabetes, and certainly making it more difficult for diabetic patients to control their blood sugar.
We also know 3.5 million people have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes but more than 500,000 are living with the condition unknowingly.
That statistic is concerning.
Early diagnosis of diabetes and prediabetes is as an essential step in the prevention of complications as well as for medical cost containment. Controlling periodontal disease is a major step in reducing blood sugar levels. And controlling your blood sugars will reduce periodontal disease.
Now back to the Diabetes test at the dentist office. My current thinking is it is not the most effective and efficient plan.
Here’s what I think will work:
Periodontists and primary physicians each have an area of expertise. But because of the overlap between periodontal disease and diabetes, medical and dental specialists need to work together more effectively to diagnose Diabetes before it is out of control and manage it cooperatively once it has been diagnosed.
So heads up patients. Diabetes prevention or control is now going to be part of our conversation.
As for primary docs, can I count on you to have the periodontal disease conversation in your office?
Tags: diabetes, gum disease, periodontist
Categorised in: Blog
This post was written by David G. Genet, DMD
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