It has been well understood that diabetes can increase your complications related to gum disease. It puts you at a higher risk for receding gums, bone loss, and tooth loss. That’s part of the reason why your dental visit can help you spot diabetes. Gum disease, in turn, can make it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk of diabetic complications, and make the risk of gum disease even greater.
So it’s vital to find a way to break this cycle of reinforcing chronic diseases. Now a new study suggests that treating gum disease can dramatically improve blood sugar control, which means that it can help stop this cycle of disease.
Understanding Gum Disease Treatment
For the purposes of this study, researchers were looking primarily at a nonsurgical gum disease treatment known as root scaling and planing.
Gum disease occurs when oral bacteria colonize the space between your gums and teeth. These bacteria enlarge the space, destroying gum tissue, jawbone, and the connective tissue that secures your teeth to the bone.
In root scaling and planing, bacteria that has accumulated under the gum line is removed. Once the bacteria has been removed, the teeth are smoothed out to make it harder for oral bacteria to cling to your teeth. Then your gum tissue is pressed up against the teeth so it can heal back into a healthy position.
A Systematic Review
To understand how much difference gum disease treatment can have on blood sugar control, researchers collected all studies that looked at this problem. They identified seven randomized controlled trials involving 940 patients that fit their criteria. The trials showed that gum disease treatment, significantly reduced blood sugar levels.
They argued that this demonstrates that gum disease treatment can be a reasonable intervention for trying to help control blood sugar levels.
The Door Swings Both Ways
This review offers some crucial validation for the Top Down Dental approach. Whereas many thought that diabetes had an impact on gum disease but not vice versa, this study showed that the opposite is true. Gum disease can significantly impact the severity of diabetes and its complication.
And while treatment of diabetes can improve gum disease, we can now say with confidence that treatment of gum disease will improve diabetes. In other words, oral health is strongly connected to general health.
This effect helps explain previous research that showed treating gum disease could lead to significant reduction in the need for medical interventions. In fact, a study showed that gum disease treatment could reduce the need for hospitalization in diabetes patients by nearly 40%. And along with this reduction in hospitalization risk comes an even more significant cost savings, an average of over 40% reduction in costs every year, more than $2800 a year.
Gum disease prevention is the best way to help keep your diabetes under control. These prevention methods include at-home hygiene–brushing and flossing–as well as making your regular dentist visits. But if you develop gum disease, interventions like root planing and scaling can be very successful at improving your oral health.