Diabetics with Gum Disease Have Higher Mortality Risks


Diabetics should not just be wary about their blood glucose levels. According to a recent study, those with type 2 diabetes and are suffering from periodontal disease have an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. These two life-threatening conditions are the most common complications that a diabetic faces. The results of this study emphasize one thing: diabetics should be extra careful with their oral health especially if they are predisposed to develop periodontitis or gum disease.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease? Periodontitis is characterized by red and swollen gums. This dental condition is caused by bacterial infection. According to Dr. William C. Knowler, bacterial infections have the ability to promote inflammation of blood vessels which further leads to damage in the heart as well as the kidneys. Knowler works in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases which is based in Phoenix as the chief of diabetes and arthritis epidemiology section. Most of the time, periodontitis is diagnosed during mid-life or even later. However, the contact with the strain of bacteria causing the infection may have occurred earlier, possibly even decades prior to the diagnosis of the infection.

The infection is exacerbated by poor dental hygiene which leads to the very much common gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease but only in its infantile stages. The most common sign of gingivitis are gums that easily bleed. With the help of careful brushing and regular flossing, there is a chance that gingivitis might be reversed. However, if gingivitis is allowed to develop into a more serious form of gum disease, eventually the gums and bone that support the teeth will start to be damaged leading to teeth loss.

The study’s respondents were Pima Indians aged 45 and older who had diabetes. A total of 549 respondents participated in the said study. There was high prevalence of gum disease which was characterized by bone destruction and teeth loss with almost 60% of the respondents exhibiting the condition. After ten years, the group was able to gather that 172 of the respondents had died of natural causes. 42 per 1,000 people died of natural causes among those with severe gum disease. However, only 26.6 per 1,000 people died each year among those who did not have severe periodontitis. Other than natural causes, the extra deaths were attributed to heart disease and diabetic nephropathy.


Elliot Pearson writes as a specialist for Dentist Identity who provides dental marketing and SEO


About Medimise

JP studied Health Sciences with the Open University between 2008 and 2011 and attained a Certificate in Health Sciences. Focus areas included T2 diabetes, trauma and repair, pain management, alcoholism, COPD, and cancer diagnosis and treatment. JP has been working as lead editor of several health publications since 2006 and works full time in the health industry.

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