For years we’ve known that people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.

Research now indicates that the relationship goes both ways – periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

More research is needed to confirm how periodontal disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar. What we do know is that severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increase periods of time when you body functions with a high blood sugar. And, as a diabetic, you know that this puts you at increased risk for diabetic complications. Diabetic patients who have periodontal disease should be treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.

In other words, controlling your periodontal disease may help you control your diabetes. If you are among the nearly 16 million Americans in the U.S. who live with diabetes, or are at risk for periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a periodontal evaluation – because healthy gums leads to a healthy body.