It has long been known by dentists and many others that diabetes makes patients more susceptible to dental gum infections, bone loss and eventual tooth loss.  In fact the correlation between poor control of a diabetic’s blood sugar levels and infections in the body is well established and generally acknowledged by health professionals. Accordingly, dentists encourage diabetics to have more frequent cleanings.

Recently evidence from scientific studies have indicated that the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes works both ways; Not only does diabetes make a patient more likely to develop periodontal disease, but the presence of active periodontal disease may make a patients diabetes worse! In fact a two year study by Taylor et al support this idea, finding that severe periodontitis was associated with increased risk of poor glycemic control .

It is safe to say that the correlation between periodontal disease and diabetes works two ways. The presence of either makes it more likely that the other will become worse and it is only prudent for diabetics and prediabetic to take good care of their teeth and gums.  Accordingly I recommend that diabetics have cleanings at the dentist four times a year and practice careful dental home care as part of their regular regimen. It is not just a matter of saving their teeth, but It may help their diabetes condition.