Background: The periodontal disease status of 320 dentate adults, diagnosed 23.7 years previously with Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, was evaluated. These patients had been monitored at 2-year intervals as part of a large University of Pittsburgh longitudinal study assessing the medical complications associated with insulin dependent diabetes.
Methods: During one of their regularly scheduled medical examinations, a group of 320 adult dentate subjects (mean age of 32.1 years) received a periodontal examination as part of a comprehensive oral health assessment. The oral health assessment collected data regarding demographics, oral health behaviors, tooth loss, coronal and root caries, salivary functions, and soft tissue pathologies. For the periodontal assessments, 3 facial sites (mesial, midcervical, distal) of the teeth in the right maxillary/left mandibular or left maxillary/right mandibular quadrants were evaluated for calculus, bleeding on probing (BOP) and loss of gingival attachment (LOA).
Results: Attachment loss was significantly greater for older patients whereas BOP and calculus levels were relatively constant across age categories. Univariate analyses of factors possibly related to extensive periodontal disease (LOA > or =4 mm for at least 10% of sites examined) indicated an association with older age; lower income and education; past and current cigarette smoking; infrequent visits to the dentist; tooth brushing less than once per day; older age of onset; longer duration of diabetes; and the diabetic complication of neuropathy. A multivariate regression model of all possibly significant factors found current cigarette use (odds ratio [OR] = 9.73), insulin dependent diabetes onset after 8.4 years of age (OR = 3.36), and age greater than 32 years (OR = 3.00) explained the majority of the extensive periodontal disease in this group of diabetic patients.
Conclusions: Management and prevention of extensive periodontal disease for Type 1 diabetic patients should include strong recommendations to discontinue cigarette smoking.