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Joslin Diabetes Center and Sunstar Inc. Announce Education Initiative

Program to Teach Clinicians, Patients about Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health, Nutrition

Joslin Diabetes Center and Sunstar Inc., a Japanese maker of oral health and nutritional products, have teamed up to launch an initiative aimed at educating dentists and physicians about the link between diabetes and gum disease and other oral health issues, as well as the significance of nutrition to each.

“Traditionally, there has been little dialogue between the two disciplines,” said George L. King, M.D., Director of Research and Senior Vice President at Joslin Diabetes Center.  “But when it comes to a person with diabetes, it is all one body.  It is likely that inflammation in the oral cavity, particularly the gums, can adversely impact blood glucose and exacerbate diabetes.”

At the same time, he noted, “It is also known that poor diabetes control can cause many complications, including increased risk for gum disease and loss of teeth.’’

Sunstar is pleased to work with Joslin on this important program that will help educate clinicians and patients about the strong link between oral health and diabetes,” said Taketoshi Makino, R&D Fellow at Sunstar.  “This is a perfect collaboration since Joslin is the largest diabetes research center, diabetes clinic and provider of diabetes education, and Sunstar is a leading manufacturer of oral care products.”

In addition to providing diabetes and oral health-related seminars for Sunstar Group personnel, Joslin and Sunstar will also jointly create guidebooks for both medical and dental clinicians and for patients to help educate them about the links between diabetes and oral health and the role nutrition plays.  All materials will be created in both English and Japanese.

“These will be developed as educational aids by practicing clinicians in the medical and dental fields to help each discipline know more about the other,” said William C. Hsu, M.D., Director of the Asian Clinic at Joslin Diabetes Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who will serve as Director of the Joslin-Sunstar Diabetes Education Initiative (JSDEI). 

The materials will teach physicians about screening for gum disease, for example, while dentists will be taught about the difficulties of treating gum complications in patients with diabetes, he said.

“The aim is to facilitate understanding and collaboration for the care of the patient,” he added.

In addition, Sunstar will provide Joslin with an educational grant to support continuing medical education in the area of diabetes and oral health to be held in three U.S cities and three cities in Japan.

“I am enthusiastic about this initiative,” King said. “We are at a new frontier of clinical care, which will bring about better health outcomes for patients. This will forge new areas for investigation and hopefully elevate the standard of clinical care.”


Related Links

Visit the Joslin Store to buy the popular Staying Healthy with Diabetes Series, written by the staff of Joslin Diabetes Center:


Page last updated: November 07, 2019