Periodontal diseases may contribute to the progression to prediabetes, according to a new study in the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Periodontology. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates 54 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes, and a significant portion of those people will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Researchers from Denmark investigated if having periodontal diseases can influence prediabetes and contribute to the progression of diabetes. They found that having periodontal disease can cause someone to develop prediabetic characteristics, and probably disturb the glucose regulation of a nondiabetic who has prediabetic characteristics, contributing to the progression of type 2 diabetes. The study, conducted with rat models known to exhibit prediabetes characteristics, is believed to be the first to evaluate the relationship between periodontitis and prediabetes.
“This study found that having periodontal diseases can alter the metabolic conditions which would probably lead to the progression to prediabetic characteristics and type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Carla Pontes Andersen, Department of Periodontology at the University of Copenhagen. “We have known that people with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal diseases and have more severe disease,” said Dr. Preston D. Miller, Jr, president of the American Academy of Periodontology. “This breakthrough research shows having periodontal disease may aggravate prediabetes, which is a precursor for diabetes. These findings underscore the importance of taking good care of your teeth and gums: it may be a simple way to prevent diabetes, or to prevent the progression of diabetes.”
(Source: American Academy of Periodontology news release, March 2007)