Written by: John Tunnell, DDS (Dallas County Dental Society Member)
Patients who are diabetic know how important it is to control their blood sugar. While physicians typically prescribe medications and recommend diet modifications and exercise, many diabetic patients continue to have difficulty maintaining an appropriate blood sugar level.
In a recent study published in The Lancet Diabetes-Endocrinology, a group of researchers looked at what effect comprehensive periodontal treatment would have on the HbA1c of patients with type 2 diabetes. The study included 264 patients with type 2 diabetes and moderate to severe periodontal disease randomly separated into one of two groups, with one group receiving comprehensive periodontal treatment and the other group receiving only a supragingival cleaning and polishing. Both groups of patients completed recommended treatment and were placed on a maintenance recall at regular intervals. Twelve months after the start of the study, the researchers accumulated all the data, adjusted for baseline HbA1c, age, sex, ethnicity, smoking status, duration of diabetes, and BMI and found that the average HbA1c in the group receiving comprehensive periodontal treatment was 0.6% lower than in the group of patients receiving only supragingival cleanings.
If you’re diabetic, managing your blood sugar through medications, diet changes, and frequent exercise may not be enough. If you’re diabetic and also have periodontal disease, controlling your blood sugar will be even more difficult. Make sure you talk to your dentist or periodontist about the status of your gum tissues and make sure you’re getting a comprehensive periodontal examination at least once a year. If you’ve already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, stay on top of your recommended treatment and maintenance and don’t put it off. Keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level may depend on it!
Source: D’Aiuto F, Gkranias N, Bhowruth D, Khan T, Orlandi M, Suvan J, Masi S, Tsakos G, Hurel S, Hingorani AD, Donos N, Deanfield JE; TASTE Group. Systemic effects of periodontitis treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12 month, single-centre, investigator-masked, randomised trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2018 Dec;6(12):954-965. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(18)30038-X. Epub 2018 Oct 24. PubMed PMID: 30472992.