Regular dental check-ups for healthy gums may help manage type 2 diabetes

14 November 2019 Noncommunicable diseases

World Diabetes Day 2019

Today is World Diabetes Day, the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign. World Diabetes Day draws attention to issues of paramount important to the diabetes world and reaches a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries.

Oral diseases are associated with a number of other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes. Periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes have a two-way relationship: in general, people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease, and treatment of periodontal disease often improves blood glucose levels.

UK study suggests good gum health may help manage type 2 diabetes

A study published earlier this year in The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology suggests that regular dental check-ups and treatment of periodontitis may contribute to effective management of type 2 diabetes. The study was funded by Diabetes UK and the UK National Institute for Health Research.

According to Diabetes UK, people with diabetes are more likely to develop dental problems than people who don’t have diabetes: too much sugar in the blood can lead to more sugar in saliva – this sugar then contributes to tooth decay and periodontal disease. High blood sugar levels can also harm the blood vessels in the gums, making them more likely to get infected.

The study included 264 people from the UK who all had type 2 diabetes and periodontitis. About half of the participants received control periodontal treatment (CPT) every three months for a year. The other participants received intensive periodontal treatment (IPT), a more complete and involved level of periodontal care, just as often as the CPT group.

After 12 months, IPT significantly reduced average blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and moderate-to-severe periodontitis. This finding underlines the benefit of treating oral diseases and other NCDs in an integrated, holistic way. Effective regional and national strategies to promote oral health and prevent oral diseases show population-wide improvement of oral health can contribute to preventing the leading NCDs, including diabetes.

FDI promotes periodontal health

Periodontal disease affects up to 50% of the adult population worldwide. It has a significant socio-economic impact on governments and populations worldwide, yet it remains a low priority health concern and treatment is still unavailable in many countries.

FDI’s Global Periodontal Health Project (GPHP) was developed to reduce the burden of periodontal disease by raising awareness of its impact and engaging the public, oral health and other health professionals, educators, and policymakers in promoting periodontal health. GPHP provides tools and resources to raise the priority of periodontal health at the national and international level.

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