Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

As a holistic dentist in Jacksonville, Florida we believe that oral health and wellness is tantamount to the wellness of your entire body. A recent study has confirmed that diabetes, an autoimmune disorder that affects the pancreas, can cause and exacerbate the progression of periodontal disease. We have known for some time that periodontal disease is linked to many chronic conditions. This new finding is particularly worrisome because preventing periodontal disease is one of the most important things we do here at our Jacksonville, Florida dental practice. With this information we can better serve our patients and help them to do what they can to prevent the development of periodontal disease and help them to manage this condition no matter their current health.

Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that affects millions of Americans in various life stages. Type one diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes as it is diagnosed in young children and teenagers. In this type of diabetes the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and disables the body from producing its own insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for the body to break down sugars into usable forms of energy. Without insulin our bodies are unable to use the fuel we provide it and can cause many problems throughout the body. Type two diabetes is known as adult-onset diabetes and is the most common form of diabetes. Insulin resistance, or the misuse of insulin, causes high levels of sugar to build up in the blood and the body is unable to keep up with the sugar entering the body. This causes hyperglycemia which can cause many complications in the kidneys, circulatory system, and even the brain. Gestational diabetes is another form of diabetes that develops while a woman is pregnant and if not managed properly can create complications for both her and her unborn child. Diabetes is managed in many ways. Type one is normally managed with insulin therapy and monitoring. Type two can be kept at bay with a healthy lifestyle and constant blood-sugar monitoring. The link between diabetes and periodontal disease is a huge step forward in the study of both diseases and offers insights for both dentist and medical practioners alike.

The Study

In response to a lack of concrete evidence linking diabetes and periodontal disease, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania set out to understand this connection. Their research found that the presence of diabetes did in fact shift the oral microbiome. This shift in bacteria has proven to increase the progression harmful symptoms of periodontal disease, and even facilitate the development of this disease. To come to these jarring conclusions researchers mapped the microbiomes of diabetic and healthy mice. They found that before reaching a level of hyperglycemia the mice exhibited similar oral microbiomes; however, once the mice became diabetic the diversity of their oral bacteria sharply declined. They discovered that the mice also quickly developed periodontal disease which advanced equally as fast and included severe bone loss. These findings underscored that there was a link between periodontal disease and diabetes but didn’t prove that there was cause. To further the study and make it stand out among all the work done on diabetes, researchers transferred oral microbes from diabetic mice into non-diabetic mice. The mice who received the diabetic microorganisms saw a 42 percent increase in rapid bone loss, inflammation also exponentially increased in these mice as well. These findings proved unequivocally that the shift in oral microbiome causes an inflammatory response that cause the onset of periodontal disease and also exacerbates the progression of the bone loss that is associated with this disease.

Caring for Your Oral Health With Diabetes

This is one of the most actionable pieces of research we have seen in recent years. By preventing the development of type two diabetes, you can help to keep your oral health easily maintained. Further if you already suffer from diabetes, this Jacksonville, Florida dentist can provide you with the tools you need to stop inflammation and prevent periodontal disease from developing in the first place.

We focus on caring for our patient’s entire health and understanding how the health of the entire body can affect the health of the mouth. By taking caring for the mouth and preventing oral disease you can help to maintain the health of the entire body.


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Smiles by Shields
3940 San Jose Park Dr.
Jacksonville, FL 32217