Diabetes mellitus is a common chronic metabolic disease associated with substantial risk for morbidity and premature mortality. Type 1 diabetes results from a T-cell-mediated autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing pancreatic ß-cells leading to an inability to secrete insulin. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by hyperglycaemia due to both reduced insulin sensitivity and impaired insulin secretion. The incidence of type 2 diabetes, which is the most prevalent form of diabetes, is increasing to near-epidemic levels in industrialized countries. About 50% of patients are thought to be undiagnosed. Early detection and intervention are important in order to reduce the risk for systemic complications. Diabetes mellitus is also associated with oral health complications such as periodontitis and candidiasis. Uncontrolled and poorly metabolic controlled diabetic patients are in particular at risk of developing oral diseases, and may need individual intensive dental treatment. Furthermore, mounting evidence in the last decade indicates that treatment of chronic periodontal infection has a beneficial effect on the metabolic status of diabetics. Dentists can play an important role not only in the detection and management of diabetic patients, but also in patient education aimed at promoting healthier lifestyle in general through counselling in diet and smoking cessation. This paper presents current knowledge on diabetes mellitus and outlines the implications of diabetes mellitus on oral tissues and dental treatment.
Keywords: diabetes mellitus, xerostomia, salivary glands, oral candidiasis, periodontitis, dental caries