THE PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Periodontal diseases are inflammatory conditions that were once thought to have manifestations localized to the oral cavity alone, and were therefore considered the concern of only dentists and other oral health professionals. Emerging evidence has changed this view and now suggests that periodontal diseases may play a role in numerous conditions that impact systemic well-being, including diabetes mellitus. This review examines the relationships that exist between periodontal diseases and diabetes mellitus, with a focus on potential common pathophysiologic pathways including those associated with inflammation, altered host responses, and insulin resistance.
Recent findings: Periodontal inflammation is associated with an elevated systemic inflammatory state and an increased risk of major cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction and stroke, adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia, low birth weight, and preterm birth, and altered glycemic control in people with diabetes. Intervention trials suggest that periodontal therapy, which decreases the intraoral bacterial bioburden and reduces periodontal inflammation, can have a significant impact on systemic inflammatory status. Evidence suggests that periodontal therapy is associated with improved glycemic control in many patients with both diabetes and periodontal diseases.
Summary: Recognition of the bilateral relationships between oral and systemic health will challenge physicians and dentists to work together closely in the future when managing patients with diabetes and periodontal disease.