Treating gum disease can help people with Type 2 diabetes manage blood sugar levels

A study funded by Diabetes UK 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

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Researchers at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute recruited 264 people with type 2 diabetes, all of whom had moderate to severe periodontitis. Half of 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 treatments 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.

Gum disease affects almost half of the UK population and people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing it. Gum disease sets in when the levels of bacteria inside the mouth are out of balance, and it causes chronic inflammation inside the body. This inflammation has been linked to cardiovascular and kidney complications, as well as insulin resistance.

The findings, published in The Lancet Diabetes and 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.

Source: News Medical Net