Diabetes Mellitus, or diabetes as it is commonly called, is a disease in which unusually high levels of sugar are found in the blood due to the body's inadequate utilization of insulin - a hormone manufactured in teh pancreas to produce energy. There are two forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. People with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin, and those with Type 2 diabetes produces normal or slight above average amounts of insulin, but the body has grown resistant to its effects, resulting in an insulin shortage.
The link between periodontal disease and diabetes has been well documented. Studies have found periodontal disease to be more prevalent in diabetics versus non-diabetics. This probably due to the fact that diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, diabetics lose more teeth than non-diabetics.
No however, researchers are also finding that periodontal disease may predispose or exacerbate the diabetic condition. In a randomized, controlled trial, periodontal treatment in diabetics showed a reduction in the need for insulin following periodotnal treatment of two separated groups of diabetic patients. A longitudinal study of diabetes and periodontal disease found that severe periodontitis may be an important risk factor for the progression of diabetes and physicians should consider the periodontal status of diabetes patients having difficulty with glycemic control.
The prevalence of diabetes has increased by 75 percent over the past 35 years. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 16 million Americans, 5.9 percent of the population, live with disease, and 5.4 million are unaware they have the inllness. As with the many infection-related complications of diabetes, gum disease is intrinsically linked to poor metabolic control.