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Periodontal Changes in Children and Adolescents With Diabetes

Periodontal destruction can start very early in life in diabetes and becomes more prominent as children become adolescents. In a current study, dental caries and periodontal disease were clinically assessed in 182 children and adolescents (6–18 years of age) with diabetes and 160 nondiabetic control subjects.

The results showed that their were no differences between case and control subjects with respect to dental caries. Children with diabetes had significantly higher plaque and gingival inflammation levels compared with control subjects. The number of teeth with evidence of attachment loss (the hallmark of periodontal disease) was significantly greater in children with diabetes (5.79 ± 5.34 vs. 1.53 ± 3.05 in control subjects, unadjusted P < 0.001). When controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, gingival bleeding, and frequency of dental visits, diabetes remained a highly significant correlate of periodontitis, especially in the 12- to 18-year-old subgroup. In the case group, BMI was significantly correlated with destruction of connective tissue attachment and bone, but duration of diabetes and mean HbA1c were not.

The findings suggest that periodontal destruction can start very early in life in diabetes and becomes more prominent as children become adolescents. Previous studies in children with diabetes have indicated that gingival inflammation is significantly increased compared with nondiabetic control subjects, even after adjusting for oral hygiene levels. Programs designed to promote periodontal disease prevention and treatment should be provided to young patients with diabetes.
 Diabetes Care 29:295-299, 2006

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