New study addresses link between gum disease treatment, diabetes

OTTAWA A new study to be published in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library found that treating periodontal (gum) disease in diabetics may lower their insulin levels.

A group of researchers from University of Edinburgh and supported by colleagues at the Peninsula Dental School, the University of Ottawa and UCL Eastman Dental Institute suggested that Type 2 diabetics may benefit from such treatments, after analyzing 690 papers of randomized controlled trials of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who had also been diagnosed with periodontal disease and included seven studies in the review that fulfilled prespecified criteria.

Most healthcare professionals, the team said, do not address the correlation between periodontal disease and insulin levels. It is believed that when bacteria infect the mouth and cause inflammation, the resulting chemical changes reduce the effectiveness of insulin produced in the body, thus making it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar

Terry Simpson, lead author at the Edinburgh Dental Institute, said: "It would be wise to advise patients of the relationship between treating periodontal disease and the possibility of lowering their blood sugar levels. Additionally, an oral health assessment should be recommended as part of their routine diabetes management."

In December, a study published in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry reported that 90% of patients with periodontal disease were at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

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