Treating gum disease may help to manage Type 2 diabetes

18 December, 2018 / infocus

A NEW study has found that treating periodontitis (gum disease) could help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels, and may reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications.

The study, funded by Diabetes UK, involved researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute recruiting 264 people with Type 2 diabetes, all of whom had moderate to severe periodontitis.

Half the participants received intensive treatment for their gum disease, which involved deep-cleaning their gums and minor gum surgery. The other half received standard care, involving regular cleaning and polishing of their teeth. The t

reatments were provided alongside any Type 2 diabetes medications being taken.

After 12 months, participants receiving the intensive treatment had reduced their blood glucose levels (HbA1c) by on average 0.6 per cent more than the standard care group. This suggests that intensive gum disease treatment could help some people with Type 2 diabetes to improve their blood glucose levels.

The findings, published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, are the first to link intensive gum disease treatment to improvements in kidney and blood vessel function and chronic inflammation. While more research is needed to explore this connection, the findings suggest that treatment may help to reduce the risk of serious diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, in people with Type 2 diabetes. The researchers also observed a link between the treatment and improved quality of life.

Professor Francesco D’Aiuto, lead researcher of the study, said: “Our findings suggest preventing and treating gum disease could potentially be an important way to help people with Type 2 diabetes manage their condition, and reduce risk of serious complications.

“The improvement in blood glucose control we observed, in people who received intensive treatment, is similar to the effect that’s seen when people with Type 2 diabetes are prescribed a second blood glucose-lowering drug. We now need to determine if the improvements we found can be maintained in the longer-term and if they apply to everyone with Type 2 diabetes.”

Tags: diabetes / gum disease / Treatment

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