The pathophysiology of the substantive tissue damage seen in periodontitis involves a paradigm comprising a dysbiotic biofilm leading to an exaggerated host immune-inflammatory response. As a result, a shift in contemporary research towards therapies modulating the individual’s host response has been evident in recent years.
It is well established that there is a bidirectional link between periodontitis and diabetes. Poor glycaemic control increases the risk of periodontitis about three-fold, with a higher prevalence of diabetic complications in those with comorbid periodontitis. Our current understanding of the impact of diabetes on periodontitis involves the activation of the immune and inflammatory responses resulting in an upregulated systemic response. This results in local tissue damage, increased breakdown of the periodontal connective tissues and resorption of the alveolar bone. The upregulated systemic response in those with periodontitis can impair insulin signalling and increase insulin resistance resulting in elevated HbA1c levels.
The economic burden of periodontitis has been discussed in the European Federation of Periodontology’s (EFP) commissioned report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – ‘Time to take gum disease seriously: The societal and economic impact of periodontitis.’ One of the four key recommendations they made was ‘better integration of dental and general healthcare is required.’ A new service initiative, implemented by our sponsored speaker, within a district general hospital in Wolverhampton (West Midlands, England, United Kingdom) echoes the importance of this. This project, which promoted inter-professional collaborations, involved integrating a periodontal review within a diabetic consultation and designing a tailored oral health pack for diabetic patients. Incorporating a whole team approach to tackle all aspects of patients’ oral and general health was the source of success to this project. The project, which was recognised nationally winning the British Society of Periodontology (BSP) Audit Award, will be discussed to allow our audience to consider clinical initiatives beyond their traditional role. In addition, this presentation will discuss examples of other clinical initiatives which can improve the periodontal and general health of our periodontitis patients.
TePe are committed to improving the long-term well-being and quality of life for people via raising awareness of the connection between oral and general health. This presentation aims to revitalise the diagnostic reasoning required for dental professionals to comprehensively manage periodontitis patients using our current understanding of the research.