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Routine dental treatment can reduce blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes: Researchers

March 10, 2017

"Treatment can reduce the amount of bacteria and inflamed tissue in the gums," Simpson said "The presence of bacteria and inflamed tissue is thought to produce chemical changes which affect the action of insulin and in turn raises the circulating levels of sugar in the blood stream. By resolving this with periodontal treatment, the patient might experience a lower blood sugar level over a period of time."

Cram said, "I have seen several patients who have no idea they are diabetic, but after seeing how poorly they respond to therapy, I have recommended they be tested for diabetes. Once we get the diabetes under control, we are only then able to make progress in getting the perio disease under control."

Simpson said that those who are responsible for health policy and promotion might want to increase awareness of the connection between periodontal disease therapy and diabetes control. "Treatment for periodontal disease is well-established and widely available in many developed countries," he said. "When diabetes support networks are planned it is important that health care professionals and patients become aware of this association."

Elson agreed but added, "While we encourage patients to seek regular dental care, it is not always a priority unless there is obvious advanced disease. Lack of dental insurance is often a barrier to care."

Cram said the take-home message is simple: "If you are diabetic and having trouble controlling your blood glucose, have a dental check-up to see if your gums might be part of the issue."

SOURCE The Cochrane Library