The importance of treating Gum Disease

Treating serious gum disease in people with diabetes mellitus can help to reduce high blood sugar levels, according to a new study.
The study carried out by an inter-university research team including the UCL Eastman Dental Institute and Peninsula Dental School, looked at previous research into the link between diabetes and serious gum disease.
The results showed that there is a small but potentially highly important benefit to treating periodontal disease in diabetic patients.
However, further research needs to be conducted in order to fully establish the link between the two conditions.
Currently, it is thought that dental inflammation, caused by bacteria infecting the mouth, results in chemical changes that reduce the overall effectiveness of insulin, thus leading to raised blood sugar levels.
Dental treatment to reduce oral inflammation may therefore help to lower bloody sugar levels. This means a decrease in the overall risk of contracting serious health complications associated with the condition, including heart disease and eye problems.
Prof Ian Needleman from the UCL Eastman Dental Institute called the research ‘particularly timely’ because ‘periodontal disease now affects at least 40 per cent of the UK population. And for people with diabetes the disease levels will be significantly higher’.
He added: “Furthermore levels of diabetes in the UK are rising rapidly and with higher prevalence amongst disadvantaged groups, periodontal health is an important priority both for prevention and treatment.
“Whilst the most important aspect of insulin control in diabetes management is the use of drugs and diet, maintaining good dental health is something patients and healthcare professionals should also recognise, particularly because it is easy to treat”
The findings, which have been published as part of the international ‘Cochrane Collaboration’, highlight the need for doctors and dentists to work together in the treatment of diabetes.