Medical Research Shows- People With Diabetes At Risk For Increased Dental Problems

Oct 1, 1995

Most people don't think about their teeth until something goes wrong. Several dental journals have recently published reports about the effect of diabetes on oral health.

A study at the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry reported that adolescents with type I diabetes have a higher incidence of inflammatory gingival (gum-related) disease than adolescents without diabetes.

It was learned by researchers at the Clinical Research Center for Periodontal Disease at the University of Minnesota that, "Diabetics who maintained reasonably good metabolic control had not lost more teeth or experienced more periodontal attachment loss than non-diabetics." However, "long-duration diabetics" and those with poor control had many problems, including periodontitis and tooth loss. It was determined that contributing factors for oral disease may be vascular change, neutrophil dysfunction (which involves a type of white blood cell), altered collagen synthesis, and genetic predisposition. The research report states that, "Minimizing plaque...through careful self-care and regular professional care is important to reduce the risk of periodontitis in diabetics."

Researchers in the Government Dental Hospital in Ahmedabad, India found that there is a "significantly higher" level of salivary calcium in people with uncontrolled diabetes than in other patients. These levels contribute to calculus formation, "and hence increase the severity of periodontal disease." Calculus is hard, crusty material that develops around the base of the teeth near the gums.

More evidence comes from a study in Helsinki, Finland. After following patients for two years, it was discovered that those with uncontrolled diabetes exhibited more degeneration of alveolar bone, part of the gum into which teeth are attached. Of course, without bone to anchor into, teeth will eventually come loose. Another study in Finland, at the University of Oulu, found that "sex, age, and type of diabetes were not significant variables," meaning that the common factor in diabetes-related oral disease is poor blood glucose control.

Perhaps the most fascinating study was conducted at the University of Istanbul in Capa, Turkey. It focused on a test, similar to the hemoglobin A1c, the test that helps determine glucose control over a period of 3-4 months. The research report reads:

"Fructosamine assay is a test used in the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetic patients. This assay may be of interest to the periodontist for, while the traditional plasma glucose value would give a general view and information about diabetic control at a certain point, the fructosamine concentration gives an indication of the plasma glucose level over a considerable period of time, such as one to three weeks. We investigated whether there was any relation between the diseased state of the periodontal tissues and plasma fructosamine and the plasma glucose values in [type 2] patients. We found that fructosamine correlated with the degree of gingival bleeding, however serum glucose levels had little or no correlation." [Our advisory board notes that one could expect to find similar results between the hemoglobin A1c and dental disease. The fructosamine assay is similar to the hemoglobin A1c, but tests back only a few weeks as opposed to 3-4 months.]

A study in Italy determined that "diabetes should not considered as the direct cause of periodontal disease but rather as a systemic promoting factor, able to produce conditions suitable for local agents producing gingivitis and periodontitis. The overriding oral problem in diabetes is infection, like with any of the dermal lesions in the diabetic."

So what does all this tell us? Do what Mom always told you to do-take good care of your teeth, and see your dentist every three months for plaque removal!

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: A1c Test, Blood Glucose, Diabetes, General, Oral Health, Type 2 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.