The latest in what appears to be a surge of new research on the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease is showing that periodontal treatment lowers both HbA1c and visfatin levels.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Periodontology, examined 54 patients with chronic periodontitis and Type 2 diabetes. Half the patients received non-surgical periodontal treatment.
Serum visfatin levels were significantly lower after three months of non-surgical periodontal treatment. After six months, those patients who received periodontal treatment also had markedly lower HbA1c levels.
Visfatin, which is primarily expressed by visceral fat and is known to mimic the effects of insulin, has been linked to many obesity-associated diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease—though its specific role in these diseases remains unclear.
A 2014 study found that periodontal bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum incites an increase in visfatin production in periodontal ligament cells. As further research into this relationship progresses, visfatin may, indeed, prove to be an important component in the connection between oral health, diabetes, and obesity.
Though a small study, this most recent research demonstrates once again that periodontal treatment can have an impact on the health of patients with diabetes—in this case, in as little as three months. Oral pathogens can affect glucose levels even in non-diabetics, so managing the oral bioburden should be an essential component of diabetes prevention and management.