Bacteria Affect Glucose Levels in Non-Diabetics

In an ongoing study on the relationship between periodontal bacteria, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance, researchers have found that the presence of oral pathogens is associated with pre-diabetes and increased fasting plasma glucose levels in non-diabetic patients.

The study, which was published in Circulation, is studying 300 adults between the ages of 20 and 55 who do not have diabetes. They assessed for prevalent pre-diabetes with HbA1C or fasting blood glucose tests.

Participants who had higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Tannerella forsythia showed a marked increase in fasting plasma glucose levels. In patients with low baseline levels of oral bacteria, no increase in fasting plasma glucose was observed.

It appears once again that periodontal infection and the bacteria that cause it are involved with diabetes progression. Another longitudinal study published in Diabetes Care concluded that there was an approximate 5-time increase in the progression of A1c levels among 2700 diabetes-free participants with the presence of periodontal disease. This study also reported that there was a greater increase in A1c levels if hsCRP levels were elevated in addition to presence of periodontal disease.

Furthermore, research has shown that non-surgical periodontal treatment is associated with lower glucose levels and lower healthcare costs for people with diabetes.

As this study progresses over the next several years, researchers will hopefully confirm what many already suspect: periodontal disease is a significant risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, and an anti-microbial approach to periodontal disease is a way to reduce risk for these costly and deadly conditions.

Source: Periodontal Bacteria, Prevalent Prediabetes and Plasma Glucose Progression: The Oral Infections, Glucose Intolerance and Insulin Resistance Study (ORIGINS)