Study: Gum Disease Treatment Lowers Blood Sugar

Posted on December 2, 2014

INTELIHEALTH - Treatment for gum disease can lower blood-sugar levels in people who have not been diagnosed with diabetes, a new study finds.

The study included 220 people. Some of them had gum (periodontal) disease. Others did not. The gum-disease group had a higher level of hemoglobin A1C than the group that did not have gum disease.

Hemoglobin A1C is a long-term measure of blood-sugar levels. A value above 6.5% indicates diabetes.

Everyone in the gum-disease group got non-surgical treatment for gum disease. This included two to four sessions of deep cleaning and root planing. In root planing, the roots of teeth are smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach.

Three months later, the gum-disease group had improved gum health. This group also had lower levels of hemoglobin A1C than they did when the study began. Researchers said that hemoglobin A1C levels were "near normal."

The study was published online in the Nov. 7 issue of the journal Oral Health and Preventive Dentistry.

Diabetes and gum disease are considered to be linked. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) says that people with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than non-diabetics. The AAP also says that severe gum disease can increase blood sugar. This could put people with pre-diabetes or diabetes at risk for further health problems.

However, fewer studies have examined the effect of gum disease treatment on the blood sugar levels of non-diabetics. A study published in early 2014 looked at the use of non-surgical treatment for gum disease in people with pre-diabetes. Treatment reduced hemoglobin A1C levels by about 0.2%. In pre-diabetes, the A1C measurement is above normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. However, that study included only 12 people.

Source: InteliHealth News Service

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