Can treating periodontitis improve diabetes?


In a first of its kind for the United States, a multi-centre national clinical trial is being run by The Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine to evaluate whether treatment of chronic periodontitis will help improve diabetes control. The trial involves monitoring blood sugar levels of those with Type 2 diabetes after periodontal therapy.

Chronic Periodontitis affects roughly half of all Americans over the age of 55, but it is 2-to-4 times more likely to occur among people with diabetes, according to the American Academy of Periodontology.

“We hope the results of this clinical trial will support the research that clearly shows an association between chronic periodontitis and Type 2 diabetes and evidence that treating periodontal infection and inflammation can improve glycemic control,” says Steven Engebretson, D.M.D., M.S., M.S., Principal Investigator for the trial and Assistant Professor of Periodontics and Implantology at the SBU School of Dental Medicine.

Participants for the trial must be 35 years or older and have Type 2 Diabetes and periodontal disease. The entire trial will span 30 months and include four clinical sites. Stony Brook is the coordinating clinical centre, and the other clinical sites are the University of Alabama in Birmingham, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. The NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research sponsors the trial.

Dr. Engebretson believes that in the long-run the study results have the potential to provide a scientific basis for an improvement in the standard of care for patients with diabetes, thus addressing one of the Public Health Service’s Healthy People 2010 goals. The trial is also carrying out a mandate from the 2000 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, which identified the relationship between improvement in periodontal health and glycemic control as an area in need of further investigation.


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