Diabetic patients are not only 3-4 times more likely to develop chronic periodontal infections than those without diabetes, but the periodontal infection can be more severe as well. Like any other infection in the body, periodontal infections can impair the ability to process and/or utilize insulin which can make diabetes more difficult to control. These infections may cause increased blood sugar that can increase the periods of time when a diabetic’s blood sugar level is too high. Consequently, it is important for diabetic patients to have their periodontal diseases treated to control or eliminate the infection as one more way to achieve optimal control of their blood sugar levels.

Treatment options for diabetic patients vary depending on the level of control they have over their diabetes and the severity of the existing periodontal damage. For well controlled diabetic patient, periodontal treatment is similar to a non-diabetic patient’s treatment. In the early stages of periodontal diseases, treatment usually involves scaling and root planing, a procedure in which plaque and tartar are removed from the surfaces of the teeth, both above and below the gums. More advances cases may require additional treatment combined with antibiotics. Happily, periodontal therapy has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, and may decrease their need for insulin.

Copyright © 2005 The American Academy of Periodontology