George Taylor, DMD, DrPH
ABSTRACT Both diabetes and periodontal diseases are common chronic diseases. This article describes the current evidence regarding the relationship between periodontal infections and glycemic control in diabetes. In some individuals, the pathogenesis of diabetes as well as the state of poorer glycemic control appears linked with inflammation and infection. There are important characteristics of periodontal infection that suggest a biologically plausible link to systemic inflammation and adverse effects on glycemic control. There is also empirical evidence that suggests treating periodontal infection can lead to improved glycemic control. There still remains sufficient variation in the body of literature to recommend additional, large-scale definitive studies. However, the implications of treating periodontal infection on glycemic control may have important potential in managing diabetes and in reducing the burden of diabetes.
This article describes the current evidence regarding the relationship between periodontal infections and glycemic control in diabetes. The epidemiologic data are based on the United States, but the patterns of association are nevertheless becoming increasingly common in other parts of the world. The focus is on oral health and diabetes in the United States, but it reflects the emerging epidemic of diabetes in various parts of the world. This article covers diabetes, periodontal diseases, and insulin resistance, as well as how they might be interrelated through epidemiologic studies and plausible biologic mechanisms. Additionally, this article considers observational and clinical studies pertaining to periodontal infection having an adverse effect on glycemic control.
There is very strong and consistent evidence that diabetes has an adverse effect on periodontal health.1 Table 1 shows other oral health-related conditions which have been reported to be associated with diabetes but will not be considered in this discussion. The evidence is varied, but stronger evidence exists for the relationship between diabetes and periodontal diseases than for any of the other oral health-related conditions.