A new article establishes interesting links between gum infections, a reduced level of vitamin D and diabetes . This is the first time that the joint effects of periodontitis and vitamin D deficiency in diabetes are examined. Diabetes, as many people will know, is a growing problem worldwide. In 2015, it was estimated that almost 1 in 10 adults had diabetes. There are about 1.5 million new diagnoses every year in the United States alone.Although there are certain well-known risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity and high blood pressure, there is still much more to learn. Diabetes is complex and involves multiple systems.
Discovering the full range of potential risk factors could help prevent diabetes from occurring in some individuals and help others control symptoms more effectively. Recently, a team from the University of Toronto in Canada investigated the potential influence of vitamin D deficiency and periodontitis, a gum infection.
Diabetes and Periodontitis:
They chose to examine gum disease because previous studies had shown that diabetes increases the risk of periodontitis, which is an inflammatory disease induced by bacteria that can damage soft tissues and bones. This relationship is bidirectional, which means that periodontitis also makes controlling type 2 diabetes more difficult. Lead author of the study Aleksandra Zuk explains why vitamin D was also of interest to researchers. “We know that vitamin D is not only useful for bone health, “he says, ” but it has also been shown to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Sufficient levels of vitamin D can decrease inflammation and affect oral microbes related to gum disease. ” Apart from the role of vitamin D in fighting infections and reducing inflammation, some research has shown that vitamin D receptors are directly associated with periodontitis.
To delve into the network of connections, the scientists took information from the National Survey of Health and Nutrition Exam 2009-2010. The sample included data from 1,631 people with type 2 diabetes and 1,369 without diabetes. All participants were over 30 years of age, and each individual underwent a dental exam and fasting vitamin D levels and glucose and insulin levels were evaluated. The intriguing results of the researchers have been published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. After their analysis, the authors concluded: “Consistently, the articular effects of vitamin D-3 insufficiency and total vitamin D insufficiency with periodontitis were significantly associated with diabetes. « The data showed that periodontitis and vitamin D deficiency separately increased the risk of type 2 diabetes. The authors also found that when the two factors were combined, the risk was “greater than the sum of the individual effects.”
Because about half of American adults have gum disease and more than 40 percent have vitamin D deficiency, the study’s conclusions could be incredibly important. It is necessary to continue working to confirm the results and delve a little deeper into the mechanisms involved. This study is the first to examine the joint effects of periodontitis and vitamin D insufficiency in diabetes. If the findings are replicated, it could offer a new way to address diabetes in some cases. For example, for adults with type 2 diabetes and periodontitis, increasing vitamin D levels to the suggested levels could help them control their condition. As Zuk says: “Because it is the first study, we really need to analyze these two exposures again in other studies and populations. It could have an impact on diabetes research. “