Gum disease and diabetes: UCL Eastman research helps lead to new guidance
12 September 2019
A new Commissioning Standard, published by NHS England and NHS Improvement, recommends that people with Type 2 Diabetes are screened for gum disease (periodontitis) as part of their treatment plan.
Recent research by UCL Eastman revealed that treating gum disease could help lower blood glucose level and reduce chronic inflammation in these patients.
Gum disease treatment (improving oral health) could be the equivalent to prescribing a patient an additional, second blood sugar-lowering drug.
Lead researcher Professor Francesco D’Aiuto said: “We were pleased to find that treating periodontitis could lead to significant reduction in blood sugar which can lead to less diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease
“We have since worked closely with NHS authorities to increase awareness of the link between gum disease and diabetes amongst health professionals, resulting in this recommendation to include dental and gum assessments as standard.”
The new guidance recommends that those with Type 2 Diabetes receive:
- A full dental examination;
- Assessment of their gum health;
- Expert advice on maintaining excellent oral health.
Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer for England said: “The consequences of periodontitis disease and type 2 diabetes can be devastating; the new standards will ensure people can take better control over their own health.
“With evidence now showing the clear link between periodontitis and type 2 diabetes, it is appropriate for NHS England and NHS Improvement to be issuing new standards to ensure people receive the best care possible”.
- Blog: Beyond the mouth: the link between periodontitis and other chronic conditions
- Paper: Systemic effects of periodontitis treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes: a 12 month, single-centre, investigator-masked, randomised trial
- Patient information: Patient-oriented summary of the evidence linking periodontitis (gum disease) with other chronic conditions