Study reveals many dental patients don't realize they have major medical conditions

October 18, 1999

CHICAGO -- Embargoed for Release: October 18, 1999 -- Patients referred to periodontists often have no idea they have undiagnosed and uncontrolled health problems, some of which can affect their oral health and dental treatment, according to a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

Dental patients routinely complete medical questionnaires and review their health histories with dental professionals during their initial visit. The study compared self-reported medical histories from 39 consecutive patients with moderate to advanced periodontal disease to laboratory data obtained when patients were then referred to a hospital for a urinalysis, complete blood count and a standard blood chemistry panel.

While no patients in the study reported having diabetes, 15 percent tested positive for the disease. In addition, only 5 percent of participants reported a history of abnormal cholesterol, while 56 percent tested positive for exceptionally high values, putting them at greater risk for strokes and heart attacks.

"These and other underreported conditions found in the study are alarming because it's important for patients to know what diseases they have or are at high risk for so that they can take steps to control the diseases," said the study's lead researcher, Dr. Kelly Thompson. "From a dental practitioner's standpoint, these findings also mean that we may not always be made aware of what we're up against. Undiagnosed and uncontrolled diabetes can have a profound impact on oral health and can greatly affect treatment procedures and outcomes."

A two-way relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes exists. Diabetics are more likely to develop infections like periodontal disease, and periodontal disease makes it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Furthermore, people with diabetes and periodontal disease are more prone to recurrent periodontal abscesses (areas around teeth that are inflamed, infected and painful).

Research also points to a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. People with periodontal disease may be almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease.

"This suggests that it may be especially important for people with periodontal disease to be aware when they have other risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol," said Dr. Jack Caton, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). "The findings also point out one more reason for increased collaboration between the dental and medical communities."

The study cites a need for dental professionals to emphasize to patients the importance of routine physical examinations and preventative care. "Our patients who exhibit risk factors could benefit from physician referrals," said Thompson.

Free brochures titled Diabetes & Gum Disease and Ask Your Periodontist About Periodontal Disease & Heart Disease are available by calling 1-800-FLOSS-EM or e-mailing amyd@perio.org. The AAP's Web site (http://www.perio.org) can provide more information and a referral to a nearby periodontist.

The AAP is a 7,000-member organization of dentists specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tissues surrounding the teeth and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontics is one of eight specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
-end-
EDITOR'S NOTE: For a copy of the study, contact Amanda Widtfeldt at 312-573-3243 or amanda@perio.org.

American Academy of Periodontology

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.