Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS January 17, 2016
Type 2 diabetes is growing in the US. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 29.1 million people (or 9.3% of the US population) had diabetes. Of those, 21.0 million were diagnosed, but 8.1 million had diabetes yet didn’t know it. That meant that 27.8% of people with diabetes were walking around undiagnosed with this debilitating and life-threatening disease.
Another alarming statistic is that 94% of the US population has some form of gum disease, but about 47% of US adults have advanced gum disease that is destroying their jawbone and making its way into the bloodstream.
Those with type 2 diabetes are unfortunately confronted not only with the damaging effects of their diabetes, but also with the destructive path of advanced gum disease (or periodontitis). HERE. HERE. HERE. The prevalence of advanced gum disease in diabetics is significantly higher than in those without diabetes. HERE. HERE.
Type 2 diabetes is generally a chronic disease that is related to diet and lifestyle. A Paleo diet and lifestyle can go a long way in either possibly reducing the complications of this disease or possibly eliminating it and restoring the body to health. HERE. HERE. HERE.
For those with type 2 diabetes and advancing gum disease, a recent study published in 2015 showed that a combination of conservative gum treatment and a specific dietary nutrient provided healthier results than conservative gum treatment alone. The infection of gum disease improved and other markers of diabetes including hemoglobin A1c improved.
In this study, conservative gum treatment consisted of a deep cleaning under the gum tissues to remove tartar, which was acting like a splinter causing irritation and inflammation. The specific antioxidant supplement was lycopene, which is abundant in foods like guava, watermelon, and tomatoes. Participants in this study were given capsules of lycopene to take daily for 8 weeks.
My personal research has convinced me that nutrients like lycopene consumed in their natural food sources will enhance cell function and prevent chronic diseases better than consuming man-made or prepared supplements. That is one reason I prefer a Paleo diet as my go-to way of eating. A Paleo diet includes various plant-based foods that are rich in the natural antioxidants that support healthy blood sugar as well as reduce the chronic inflammation of gum disease.
If you have gum disease and diabetes, you need to be proactive. Schedule an evaluation with your dentist or periodontist and at least have a thorough deep cleaning performed to remove disease-producing tartar. Also, begin a Paleo diet with an emphasis in vegetables and fruits that have high levels of lycopene.