Severe periodontitis quadruples the risk of developing diabetes

A close relationship between the two diseases has long been suggested, but now a team of researchers has shown that severe periodontitis increases the likelihood of diabetes fourfold.

A joint investigation by a number of teams linked to the study, including Dr. Montanya’s team at IDIBELL, has corroborated the association in a representative sample of the Spanish population.

Dentist examining a female patient with tools

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease related to the alteration of the oral microbiota, which can lead to the destruction of the tissues surrounding the teeth. In severe cases, it is common for some teeth to be lost as a consequence. In addition, diabetes has long been known to be a significant risk factor for periodontitis, particularly in individuals with poor blood glucose control.

In recent years, the inverse relationship has been studied and it appears that periodontitis also has an impact on diabetes. Especially in the severe form of the disease, it has been shown to significantly alter glycaemic and metabolic control and thus increase the likelihood of diabetics developing various complications. Periodontitis has even been identified as a potential risk factor for the development of diabetes in non-diabetic individuals. However, studies are scarce in the European population and there is a need to corroborate whether the association between the two diseases holds true in Europe.

Precisely, a team led by researchers from the UCM’s Etiology and Therapeutics of Periodontal and Peri-implant Diseases (ETEP) group and other institutions participating in the CIBERDEM study, such as the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), has carried out a pioneering study in Spain to determine how periodontitis affects diabetes in the Spanish population.

The magnitude of the reported association is higher than those published in other research, carried out mainly in Asian populations“, says Eduard Montero, ETEP researcher and associate professor in the Department of Clinical Dental Specialties at the UCM.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, was based on the collection and analysis of clinical data from 231 patients and the oral health responses of more than 1700 patients. Among them, diabetes was diagnosed in 144 patients (8.2%). Given the results obtained, “It would be ideal to assess whether periodontitis is a true risk factor for the development of diabetes and, ultimately, whether periodontal treatment can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in susceptible individuals“, as suggested by Eduard Montanya, coordinator of the IDIBELL Diabetes and Metabolism programme, head of the Diabetes Section of the Endocrinology Department of Bellvitge Hospital, professor at the University of Barcelona and scientific director of CIBERDEM.

If periodontitis is confirmed as a risk factor for diabetes, the next step is towards therapeutic application. “If we want to see the usefulness from the point of view of opportunity, periodontal treatment in patients with periodontitis, being a very simple and minimally invasive treatment, has proven not only to be effective in controlling periodontitis, but also to lead to reductions in glycosylated haemoglobin values, the main marker of glycaemic control in patients with diabetes“, concludes Montero.

Other institutions involved in the study, apart from those already mentioned, are the Hospital Clínico Universitario San Carlos, the Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga, the Hospital Universitario de Cruces, the Hospital Central Universitario de Oviedo, the EAP Raval Sur in Barcelona and INCLIVA in Valencia, among others.








The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).



Original source

Montero E, Bujaldón R, Montanya E, Calle-Pascual AL, Rojo-Martínez G, Castaño L, Franch-Nadal J, Delgado E, Chaves F, Alonso B, Sanz M, Herrera D. Cross-sectional association between severe periodontitis and diabetes mellitus: A nation-wide cohort study. J Clin Periodontol. 2023 Dec 23. DOI: 10.1111/jcpe.13937. E.

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