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The Diabetes And Oral Health Connection

  • December 19, 2010

WILLIAMSPORT AND COLLEGEVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA – During Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Philadelphia, PA Dental Implants expert Dr. David DiGiallorenzo increased efforts to educate diabetic patients and those with periodontal disease on the connection between oral health and diabetes.

Research suggests that the oral health/diabetes connection is a two-way street, said DiGiallorenzo, who treats diabetic patients at his Williamsport, Collegeville and Philadelphia, PA periodontics practice.

Periodontal disease can increase blood glucose levels and contribute to the progression of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Those already diagnosed as diabetics are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they tend to be more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.

The International Diabetes Federation has clinical guidelines regarding the importance of periodontal health for diabetics. The guidelines support that managing periodontal disease- which can harm gum tissue and other supporting tissues around the teeth- can help decrease the risk of developing diabetes and also can help people with diabetes better control blood sugar levels.
The IDF guideline details beneficial guidance for health professionals who treat people living with diabetes, or who are at risk of developing it.

“I wholeheartedly support the IDF guidelines, which encourage health professionals to check patients annually for gum disease symptoms,” said DiGiallorenzo, a Philadelphia, PA Periodontist, adding that symptoms include red or swollen gums and bleeding during tooth brushing. “We all need to make an effort to avoid gum disease by taking care of our teeth and gums, but this is particularly important for diabetics.”

Periodontal disease triggers the body’s inflammatory response, which can affect insulin sensitivity and eventually increase blood sugar levels, said Dr. Samuel Low, associate dean and professor of periodontology at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. Low also is president of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Keeping up with regular periodontal care is one way in which diabetics can help keep their diabetes under control.
Approximately 285 million people are affected by diabetes worldwide, and this number is only expected to continue rising, according to information posted on the American Academy of Periodontology website.

But in spite of that, DiGiallorenzo said there’s still plenty to smile about when it comes to periodontal health. Helping diabetics maintain healthy teeth and gums is easier with the laser assisted new attachment procedure- called LANAP – which is a no-cut, no suture method of treating periodontal disease that removes infection and stimulates healing.

© 2010 Sinai Marketing and Dr. David Digiallorenzo.