By Theresa Pablos, associate editor

June 12, 2019 -- Periodontal health may be related to everything from prediabetes to puberty. Researchers who evaluated some of these connections presented their findings at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions in San Francisco.

Poster presentations on June 10 explored how fasting blood glucose levels in obese patients correlated with severe periodontitis experience and how puberty may be a better indicator of periodontal disease than age for some patients. These posters highlighted the increased recognition of the role periodontal disease may play in diabetes.

"Periodontal disease has been considered as the sixth complication of diabetes," wrote presenter Pampita Chakraborty, PhD, in her poster abstract. "It has also been suggested that periodontal disease may worsen glycemic control."

Obesity, blood glucose, and severe periodontitis

In one poster presentation, researchers from Paraguay evaluated the relationship between prediabetes, obesity, and periodontitis. Their study included 62 obese patients, half with prediabetes and half with normal glucose levels.

Severe periodontitis experience by blood glucose levels

Both patient groups had about equal levels of gingivitis and periodontitis, the researchers found. However, those with prediabetes were significantly more likely to have severe periodontitis.

The higher fasting blood glucose levels a patient had, the more likely they were to have severe periodontitis. The researchers also found this relatively linear relationship between periodontal disease and metabolic syndrome.

"Severe periodontitis was more frequent in those patients with prediabetes, with a greater and statistically significant difference in those with more severe degrees of obesity," presenting author Elvio Dario Bueno Colman, MD, wrote in the poster's abstract. "These results show that in the context of severe obesity and metabolic syndrome, even mild hyperglycemia seems to be related to severe periodontitis and the need to request an evaluation of oral health in this group of patients."

Periodontal health and puberty

In another poster presentation, researchers from India showed a connection between periodontal health and puberty. In their study, they measured periodontal health indicators in 110 patients with type 1 diabetes and their healthy siblings as they went through puberty.

Adolescents with diabetes had significantly worse gingival index and probing pocket depth than their siblings. However, the participants' stage of puberty and blood glucose levels served as better predictors of periodontal disease than their age or length of experience with diabetes. Nephropathy and neuropathy, signs of unregulated diabetes, also were significantly associated with periodontal disease.

Patients with type 1 diabetes were more likely to develop periodontal disease compared with healthy siblings, according to Chakraborty, a research fellow at the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research in Kolkata, India. The onset and progression of puberty and poorer glycemic control, rather than the duration of diabetes mellitus, were associated with a greater risk of periodontal disease, she wrote.

Copyright © 2019

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