Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 15:14 UK

Gum disease treatment may help diabetes

Gum disease (generic)
Dental treatment to reduce inflammation may reduce blood sugar

Treating serious gum disease in diabetics can help to lower their blood sugar levels, a new study has found.

Edinburgh University scientists have found reducing gum inflammation in people with diabetes can help minimise complications with the condition.

It is thought when bacteria infect the mouth causing inflammation the chemical changes reduce effectiveness of insulin and raise the levels of blood sugar.

Treatment to reduce inflammation may therefore help reduce blood sugar.

The findings are published as part of the international Cochrane Collaboration.

Dental institute

The team, including researchers from UCL Eastman Dental Institute, Peninsula Dental School and Ottawa University, said their findings highlighted the need for doctors and dentists to work together in the treatment of people with diabetes.

Dr Terry Simpson, honorary research fellow at Edinburgh University's dental institute, who led the study, said: "This research confirms that there may be a link between serious gum disease and diabetes.

"It highlights the role dentists can play in managing the condition, given that gum disease is very treatable.

"By far the most important aspect of diabetes management is the use of insulin, drugs and diet to control blood sugar levels but maintaining good dental health is something patients and healthcare professionals should also recognise.

"Although the benefit in terms of insulin management is small, anything we can do to promote the wellbeing of people with diabetes should be welcomed."



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