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Published on October 5, 2010

Study shows new link between gum disease and diabetes

Successful treatment of gum disease may help decrease the blood sugar levels of diabetics, a new study has suggested.

The study, conducted by the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with University College London, Peninsula Dental School and the University of Ottawa, reviewed previous research into the link between gum disease and diabetes, and found that the inflammation resulting from oral bacterial infection can inhibit the efficacy of insulin in diabetics. Reducing the inflammation may help increase the effectiveness of insulin, and so may help reduce blood sugar levels.

UCL’s Professor Ian Needleman said: “This research is particularly timely as periodontal disease now affects at least 40% of the UK population and for people with diabetes the disease levels will be significantly higher. 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.”

The results of the study, published earlier this year by the international Cochrane Oral Health Group, further demonstrate the importance of good oral hygiene and of attending regular dental checkups, especially for those with chronic medical conditions.

Read a more detailed summary of the study’s findings here >>

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