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Care of Gums Improves Blood Glucose Control

Standard treatment for moderately inflamed gums around the teeth — periodontitis — can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under contro, dropping A1c 1.5 points. Dr. Antonio Bascones tells Diabetes in Control that, “Diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease than do non-diabetics, "so control of diet, exercise and inflammation in periodontitis is essential.”

Bascones, at Complutense University, Madrid and colleagues note in the Journal of Periodontology that since the 1960s there have been studies suggesting that periodontal disease worsens blood sugar control in diabetics.

To investigate further, the researchers studied ten patients with type 2 diabetes and ten people without diabetes. All had a diagnosis of moderate generalized chronic periodontitis.

The patients underwent conventional periodontal root scaling and root planing, and after a few months all showed significant improvement gum bleeding, amount of plaque on teeth, the degree of looseness of teeth.

Furthermore, the team found, the group with diabetes had a significant improvement in glucose control, as indicated by a drop from 7.2 to 5.7 in glycosylate hemoglobin levels, commonly called the A1c measurement.

The investigators call for further studies but suggest that "there is a two-way relationship between diabetes mellitus and periodontitis, with the former producing a greater severity of periodontal disease and the latter compromising blood glucose control."

The findings, Bascones added, are "in a small sample of patients but it is the first step in the fight against this disease."
Journal of Periodontology, April 2006.