What do diabetes and periodontal disease have to do with each other? Both are common diseases, never curable, only controllable and they affect each other. Periodontal disease causes diabetes to get worse and diabetes causes periodontal disease to worsen. Treating one helps the other. If one worsens, so does the other.
Gum disease is an infection that stresses the body. Diabetes is a disease that affects blood vessels and circulation throughout the body. That is why you have heard of severe diabetics going blind or needing a limb amputated.
Periodontal disease is so common that you can assume that any patient with diabetes has at least some periodontal disease, so medical doctors and dentists must work together.
The importance of the physician in educating their patients as to the role of periodontal disease and diabetes cannot be overstated. All patients being treated for diabetes should be referred to a dentist to evaluate their periodontal condition because periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that adversely affects the ability of the patient to achieve control of their blood sugar and can affect insulin resistance.
Dentists need to screen their patients to see if they have diabetes. Severe inflammation might be a sign that the patient has undiagnosed diabetes and require medical consultation. Better control of blood sugar will help the patient establish and maintain periodontal health.
Diabetic patients need to maintain ideal blood sugar balance by a combination of diet, exercise, medication and improved periodontal health in order to achieve the best possible outcome.