Consisting of an audience of approximately 300 international experts, the speakers of the symposium ‘Diabetes, Oral Health & Nutrition: Inter-relationships, Innovations & Interaction’ reiterated the issue of diabetes, underlining the importance of several inter-related factors that must be considered in order to decrease the risk of diabetic complications.
The symposium was organised by the Sunstar Foundation (Japan) and the Joslin Diabetes Center (USA), the world’s pre-eminent diabetes research and clinical care organization with the support of Sunstar and the partnership with the FDI (World Dental Federation). Accreditation support was provided by the SIdP (Italian Society of Periodontology), AIDI (Italian Dental Hygienists Association) and SID (Italian Society of Diabetology).
As highlighted by the speakers, the starting point of an interdisciplinary approach is the awareness of the connection between diabetes and periodontitis. Actually, periodontitis has been linked with worsening glycaemic control in people with diabetes as well as with increased risk for diabetic complications including coronary artery disease (CAD), renal disease, and increased mortality. On the other hand, periodontal disease is an infectious complication of diabetes. Consequently, in case of poorly controlled diabetes, the patient will be at a greater risk for severe periodontal disease. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to develop practical screening strategies in order to treat patients from the different perspectives. According to the lecture of Robert J. Genco, Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology and Microbiology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, ‘Current Understanding of the Association Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes Mellitus’, the treatment of periodontal disease in patients can improve glycaemic control, possibly by improving insulin sensitivity. Consequently, it is fundamental to include management of periodontal disease in the complete care of patients with diabetes.
Development of hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes is the result of the concomitance of predisposing, precipitating, and accelerating factors, and the mechanisms of diabetic complications are complex and related to periodontal diseases. This is what emerged from the presentations by George L. King, Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Director of Research, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, ‘Mechanisms of Diabetic Complications: Role of insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia’, and by Stephano Del Prato, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Pisa, Italy, ‘The pathogenetic complexity of type 2 diabetes’.
From the symposium it was evident that genetic background plus an environment with calorically dense food and sedentary lifestyle have led to worldwide epidemics of type 2 diabetes and obesity. C. Ronald Kahn of the Joslin Diabetes Center, Livio Luzi, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Milan and Maurizio Tonetti, Executive Director, European Research Group on Periodontology (ERGOPerio) investigated the interplay between lifestyle, insulin resistance and periodontal diseases, and stressed the importance of correct nutrition and physical activity in order to decrease insulin resistance and hyperglycaemia. High fat, high glycemic index and low anti-oxidant content diets impair insulin action. On the contrary, positive lifestyle changes have an immune-modulation effect, activating intracellular signaling pathways and leading to improvement of insulin resistance.
In conclusion, as periodontitis in poorly controlled diabetics can lead to severe complications, it is necessary that periodontists, dentists and dental hygienists are involved in treating diabetic patients together with the diabetologist, nutritionist and the general medical practitioner to complete the multidisciplinary approach in modern day patient management. In this context, dental specialists must not only treat periodontal diseases, but also inform patients about the importance of nutrition, weight reduction and physical activity. Moreover, they must play a specific role in identifying patients who are at risk for diabetes because a dental referral to a physician could provide an opportunity to contribute to early diagnosis and early intervention.
(Source: Dental Tribune)
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About the Joslin Sunstar Diabetes Education Initiative
Sunstar Foundation and Joslin Diabetes Center, the world’s preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School are organising a series of symposiums with the support of Sunstar across the world on the inter-relationship between oral health and diabetes as part of the Joslin Sunstar Diabetes Education Initiative (JSDEI). Their aim is to increase the awareness of professionals, patients and general public at large by educating them on the latest research that demonstrates this link between oral health and systemic health.
About the Sunstar Foundation
Established in 1977, the Sunstar Foundation for Oral Health Promotion has the aim to improve oral care among the general public, promoting dental health through various activities. The Sunstar Foundation’s efforts have been highly acclaimed both in Japan and internationally for their beneficial impact on society. In April 2008, Sunstar entered into an agreement with Joslin Diabetes Center to launch the Joslin-Sunstar Diabetes Education Initiative which includes international symposiums for professionals. 15 JSDEI seminars were held in Japan, the US and Europe and the second European JSDEI seminar was held in Milan, Italy on September 20, 2013.
Sunstar is a world leader in oral care with preventative and therapeutic products sold under the brands G∙U∙M, Butler, Ora2 and GUIDOR worldwide. Sunstar was one of the first companies to identify and promote the integral relationship between oral health and overall systemic health. Sunstar has a robust research and development program that includes collaborative projects with leading companies, research institutions, as well as dental and medical experts around the world. The Company was founded in 1932, and today, Sunstar provides high-value-added products and services in the areas of oral care, health and beauty, as well as the chemical and automobile industries globally under the motto “Always strive to help people everywhere achieve better health and enhance their quality-of-life.”