March 2007 - Periodontal diseases may contribute to the progression to pre-diabetes, according to a new study that appears in the March issue of the Journal of Periodontology.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates 54 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes, and a significant portion of those people will develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
Researchers from Denmark investigated if having periodontal diseases can influence pre-diabetes and contribute to the progression of diabetes. They found that having periodontal disease can cause someone to develop pre-diabetic characteristics, and probably disturb the glucose regulation of a non-diabetic who has pre-diabetic characteristics, contributing to the progression of Type 2 diabetes. The study, conducted with rat models known to exhibit pre-diabetes characteristics, is believed to be the first to evaluate the relationship between periodontitis and pre-diabetes.
"This study found that having periodontal diseases can alter the metabolic conditions which would probably lead to the progression to pre-diabetic characteristics and Type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Carla Pontes Andersen, Department of Periodontology at the University of Copenhagen.
"We have known that people with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal diseases and have more severe disease," said Dr. Preston D. Miller, Jr., President of the American Academy of Periodontology. "This breakthrough research shows having periodontal disease may aggravate pre-diabetes which is a precursor for diabetes. These findings underscore the importance of taking good care of your teeth and gums: it may be a simple way to prevent diabetes, or to prevent the progression of diabetes."
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To asses your periodontal health visit www.perio.org and click on "Assess your gum disease risk". To check if you may be at risk of developing diabetes, visit http://www.diabetes.org/risk-test.jsp. Visit the AAP website, www.perio.org for a referral to a periodontist and free brochure titled Diabetes & Periodontal Diseases. Or call 800/FLOSS-EM (800.356-7736) toll-free.
Source: American Academy of Periodontology