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This is a continuation of a fantastic series of articles explaining  the link between oral health and overall health. The article was written for dental professionals but really is great. So, please read through and remember to ask our team for any explanations that you may need.

Dr Brian Johnson

Diabetes Part of Multiple Risk Factor Syndrome

Periodontal disease is the sixth-most-common complication of diabetes. The primary cause of death for those with diabetes is cardiovascular disease with risk being three-times higher in people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). A recent study showed a one percent increase in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level associated with an 18 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

This case report follows the diagnosis and treatment of a 62-year-old Japanese woman presenting with severe periodontitis and diabetes. She was diagnosed 10 years earlier with DM, was receiving daily insulin injections and had no other complications of diabetes besides periodontitis. She was also a smoker and took oral medications for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Clinically, several teeth were missing, anterior teeth were flared and severe bone loss was evident around some teeth with severe mobility. Plaque and calculus levels were high throughout the mouth. Periodontal treatment was provided including surgery and oral hygiene instructions. Following treatment her HbA1c level, cholesterol levels and blood pressure improved. The patient was then followed and remained stable for four years while receiving periodontal maintenance therapy. She then developed myocardial infarction. During this time she showed continuous deterioration of her HbA1c level and also increased periodontitis. Following coronary bypass surgery and re-establishment of periodontal maintenance therapy, systemic markers improved. The long-term clustering of these risk factors is associated with development of heart problems.

The author is Trisha O’Hehir, RDH, MS who is the Editorial Director at Hygienetown Magazine

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