Your Health: New Research Explores the Link Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Proper brushing, flossing, and regular trips to the dentist aren't always easy, but you might find yourself in serious trouble if you don't make the time.
Now new research exploring the role periodontal disease can play with other illnesses.
"I had beautiful teeth, and all of a sudden one day I'm had a toothache, and I'm 58 years old," Margaret Matko says.
A toothache was just the beginning for Ocala Native Margaret Matko, who was told she'd soon be losing teeth.
"And all of a sudden things I'd taken for granted were gone," she says.
Matko was diagnosed with periodontal disease, also called gum disease, begins with a bacterial infection that can lead to serious damage of the hard and soft tissues that support your teeth.
What's known as probing is the only way to detect periodontal disease, where dentists measure the amount of damaged gumline.
Newer research has shown a link between periodontal disease and diabetes.
"For people that have type 1 type 2 diabetes that doesn't seem sufficient, and so even with this good oral hygiene the disease seems to progress," says Dr. Shannon Wallet, with the UF Health Department of Periodontology.
It's not yet known why exactly this is, and research hasn't shown whether one disease causes or worsens the other, but the link itself is sobering when you consider more than 25 Million American adults are diabetic, and that number is only expected to increase.
However there is some good news.
"Studies have shown that if you improve your periodontal disease, you can improve secondary complications of diabetes and even what we call glycemic control or control of blood sugar," Dr. Wallet says.
While studies continue about periodontal disease and diabetes, one thing remains clear: preventing the disease is much easier - and less costly - than treating it.
Dr. Wallet says its always best to talk about it with your dentist and make sure you're getting checked.
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