Evaluating all potential oral complications of Diabetes Mellitus

M.L. Verhulst, B.G. Loos, V.E.A. Gerdes, W.J. Teeuw

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with several microvascular and macrovascular complications, such as retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and cardiovascular diseases. The pathogenesis of these complications is complex, and involves metabolic and hemodynamic disturbances, including hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and immune dysfunction. These disturbances initiate several damaging processes, such as increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, inflammation, and ischemia. These processes mainly exert their damaging effect on endothelial and nerve cells, hence the susceptibility of densely vascularized and innervated sites, such as the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Since the oral cavity is also highly vascularized and innervated, oral complications can be expected as well. The relationship between DM and oral diseases has received considerable attention in the past few decades. However, most studies only focus on periodontitis, and still approach DM from the limited perspective of elevated blood glucose levels only. In this review, we will assess other potential oral complications as well, including: dental caries, dry mouth, oral mucosal lesions, oral cancer, taste disturbances, temporomandibular disorders, burning mouth syndrome, apical periodontitis, and peri-implant diseases. Each oral complication will be briefly introduced, followed by an assessment of the literature studying epidemiological associations with DM. We will also elaborate on pathogenic mechanisms that might explain associations between DM and oral complications. To do so, we aim to expand our perspective of DM by not only considering elevated blood glucose levels, but also including literature about the other important pathogenic mechanisms, such as insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and immune dysfunction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number56
Number of pages49
JournalFrontiers in endocrinology
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


This work is part of the Ph.D. track of MV, which is funded by Sunstar Suisse SA.

FundersFunder number
Sunstar Suisse SA


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