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Gum disease can be a major dental health problem that affects a wide range of health concerns outside of the mouth, and a new study has found that treating the disease may help individuals with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels.
Researchers speculated that when bacteria infect the mouth, the infection can cause chemical changes that affect the ability of the body to use the insulin it produces, making it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.
Lead author of the study, Terry Simpson, said that dental health has long been a known to link to overall health, but that the new knowledge would help dentists and doctors find better treatments for patients with these conditions.
"It would be wise to advise patients of the relationship between treating periodontal disease and the possibility of lowering their blood sugar levels," he said. "An oral health assessment should be recommended as part of their routine diabetes management."
About 80 percent of American adults have some form of gum disease, and diabetes is one of the most common causes of death, according to the National Institute of Health.
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