29.1 million Americans have diabetes, and that number is rapidly climbing (there were only 26 million in 2010).  One in four have diabetes and don’t know it, and more than one in three Americans has pre-diabetes (9).  For decades studies have shown a link between diabetes and periodontal disease.

diabetes older studies

Current data show that 95% of people with diabetes also have periodontal disease (10).  Periodontal disease makes it difficult (some experts say it’s impossible) for a diabetic to control blood sugar levels (10).  Other studies show evidence that treatment of periodontal disease improves glycemic control in patients with diabetes (12).

This flowchart explains how diabetes and periodontal disease are inextricably intertwined.

The diabetic patient is extremely susceptible to infection, and diabetes causes a breakdown of tissues along with a suppressed ability to heal. So, the diabetic patient is more susceptible to developing periodontal disease even if the oral pathogenic bacteria are below the threshold for a non-diabetic patient’s susceptibility. On the other hand, periodontal disease causes chronic systemic inflammation which results in altered insulin signaling and response. This can lead to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes, and at the same time causes the diabetic patient serious difficulty in controlling blood sugar due to the effect on insulin.
Flow Chart Explanation:  The diabetic patient is extremely susceptible to infection, and diabetes causes a breakdown of tissues along with a suppressed ability to heal. So, the diabetic patient is more susceptible to developing periodontal disease even if the oral pathogenic bacteria are below the threshold for a non-diabetic patient’s susceptibility. On the other hand, periodontal disease causes chronic systemic inflammation which results in altered insulin signaling and response. This can lead to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes, and at the same time causes the diabetic patient serious difficulty in controlling blood sugar due to the effect on insulin.

In considering the poor financial health of our country, 1 in every 3 healthcare dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes (currently $332 Billion).  That number is projected to double by 2020.  Simply treating gum disease lowers annual cost by $2840 per patient and reduces diabetes hospital admissions by 39.4% per year. (10)

These other conditions can be affected by your oral health. Learn more by clicking the links below: