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Research Supporting Your Practice

Does periodontal therapy have any effect on glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus?


This summary is based on the Cochrane Systematic Review: Treatment of periodontal disease for glycemic control in people with diabetes mellitus (November 2015).

Simpson TC, Weldon JC, Worthington HV, Needleman I, Wild SH, Moles DR, Stevenson B, Furness S, Iheozor-Ejiofor Z.

Access the Cochrane Summary of this study


Diabetes mellitus is characterized by the body’s inability or failure to either produce insulin or effectively use its own production to direct glucose, used as an energy source, from the bloodstream to cells. As glucose remains in the bloodstream at high levels, it can lead to severe and life-threatening complications. As such, glycemic control is fundamental in treating patients with diabetes mellitus.

Purpose of the Study

The goal of this systematic review was to investigate:

  • Whether the treatment of gum disease improved blood sugar control in diabetics
  • Whether one treatment modality of gum disease had a more significant effect than another modality in improving glycemic control
    • Treatment interventions included one or more of the following:
      • Mechanical debridement
      • Periodontal surgery (flap or gingivectomy)
      • Use of local or systemic antimicrobials
      • Other drug therapy with a potential benefit of improving the periodontal status of the patient
      • Other new techniques that may be used to manage gum disease

Key Findings

  • The treatment of periodontal disease has a positive effect on diabetic glycemic control as there was a mean decrease of 0.29% in HbA1c at the 3-4 month mark. However, the quality of the evidence was judged as being low.
  • There was no evidence to suggest that the treatment of periodontal disease using one method was superior to another in controlling the blood sugar levels in diabetics.


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