Dental Tribune Europe

Study links undetected glucose disorders with periodontitis

STOCKHOLM, Sweden: The need for greater interdisciplinary communication among healthcare professionals is becoming increasingly evident. A recent study, for example, has found that patients with undetected glucose disorders have a higher risk of both myocardial infarction and periodontitis, a finding which should encourage diabetes specialists to consider their patients’ dental health and collaborate more closely with dentists, according to the researchers.

“Our findings indicate that dysglycaemia is a key risk factor in both severe periodontitis and myocardial infarction and that the combination of severe periodontitis and undetected diabetes further increases the risk of myocardial infarction,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Anna Norhammar, a cardiologist and associate professor at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine.

Based on the importance of collaboration across professions, the study was a joint venture between cardiologists and dentists. It made use of data from the PAROKRANK (periodontitis and its relation to coronary artery disease) study, which included 805 myocardial infarction patients from 17 Swedish cardiology clinics and 805 controls, who were matched by age, sex and postcode. The patients’ periodontal status was assessed with radiographs and their dysglycaemic status with a glucose tolerance test.

Participants with a previous diabetes diagnosis were excluded from the study, leaving 712 patients and 731 controls. Glucose status was divided into three categories: normal, reduced glucose tolerance and newly detected diabetes. Comparisons were made after adjusting for age, sex, smoking habits, education and civil status. Results showed that previously undetected glucose disorders, which include diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, were linked to myocardial infarction and severe periodontitis. It was also roughly twice as common for myocardial infarction patients to have undetected dysglycaemia as for healthy controls.

“Many people visit the dentist regularly and maybe it’s worth considering taking routine blood sugar tests in patients with severe periodontitis to catch these patients,” noted Norhammar.

The study, titled “Undetected dysglycemia an important risk factor for two common diseases myocardial infarction and periodontitis: A report from the PAROKRANK study”, was published online on 10 June 2019 in Diabetes Care, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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