Diabetics with severe gum disease are twice as likely to die from either heart disease or kidney failure as those without gum disease. That is the conclusion of a new study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The study followed 549 people with type 2 diabetes for nearly 10 years. The death rate (from natural causes) for those with severe gum disease was 42 per 1000, while the death rate for those with healthy gums was 26.6 per 1000. The additional deaths for those with gum disease were due to heart disease and diabetic nephropathy.