Correlation between diabetes and gum disease supported further
A new study in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has stated that the early diagnosis of (pre)diabetes mellitus is vital in preventing diabetes complications.
The BMJ expresses that screening patients with severe gum disease in dental practices would be feasible and worthwhile, as the correlation between gum disease and diabetes has been shown by numerous studies. As such, screening patients could help to prevent further diabetes-related complications down the line.
The researchers at the BMJ based their findings on 313 predominantly middle-aged people attending a university dental clinic in Amsterdam. 109 of the participants had no gum disease, 126 had mild to moderate gum disease, and the remaining 78 suffered from severe gum disease which affected the supporting structures of the teeth.
The BDA reacted to these findings by stating that it is “aware that several studies show a strong correlation between severe gum disease and type 2 diabetes although causation has yet to be proven.”
“While there may be a role for dentists in the future to screen patients with severe gum disease for type 2 diabetes, there are currently no established protocols to do this and it would require funding in place for training and deliver the service,” Professor Damien Walmsley, the BDA’s scientific adviser, said.
“Regardless of an individual’s risk for diabetes, preventing gum disease is important for all patients and dentists are the experts in oral health,” he continued. “They advise that the best way to do this is to limit sugar intake, brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and visit the dentist regularly to detect problems early as many dental problems don’t become visible or cause pain until they are in the more advanced stages.”