Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes and results in the loss of sensation in the toes and feet. Diabetics with neuropathy are at risk of developing an ulceration, a slow healing sore on the bottom of the foot which can lead to infection and/or amputation of part or all of the foot. Diabetic neuropathy has been linked to tooth loss and oral dryness, but the association between diabetic neuropathy and periodontal disease has not been fully evaluated.
In a new study, 122 type 2 diabetics were evaluated for periodontal diseases and categorized as having mild, moderate, edentulous (tooth loss) disease, or no disease. About 40% of diabetics had no periodontal disease or mild disease. Thirty percent had moderate to severe disease and 27% were edentulous. There was a significant correlation between diabetics with foot ulceration and periodontal problems and there was an independent association between the most severe form of periodontal disease and diabetic foot ulceration. The study found a clear association between diabetic neuropathy and periodontal problems. Further studies need to be done to determine if diabetic neuropathy is a risk factor for periodontal disease.
Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2010 Jul 14. [Epub ahead of print]