The UAB School of Dentistry is one of three sites recruiting patients for a clinical trial to test whether the treatment of chronic periodontitis, or gum disease, improves control of Type 2 diabetes.

"Research clearly shows an association between chronic periodontitis and Type 2 diabetes, and there is early evidence that treating periodontal infection and inflammation can improve glycemic control," said co-principal investigator Michael S. Reddy, D.M.D. "Previous studies in this area have been encouraging, but too small to be conclusive.

"This is the first large, multi-center study to determine whether periodontal treatment can improve glycemic control," Reddy said.

Reddy and co-principal investigator Cora E. Lewis, M.D., of the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine, will test whether non-surgical periodontal therapy has a positive impact on glycemic control for Type 2 diabetics. Six hundred adults with Type 2 diabetes and chronic periodontitis are being randomized at three sites: UAB; the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; and the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio. The study coordinating center is Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York.

Study participants will be randomly assigned to receive either initial non-surgical periodontal therapy with chlorhexidine rinse (treatment subjects) or delayed non-surgical periodontal therapy (control subjects). Control subjects will be offered delayed periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing) following the six-month visit. Participants in both study arms will receive oral-hygiene instruction and lifestyle information at baseline and at the three- and six-month visits.

Those eligible to participate in the study must:

  • Be at least 35 years old
  • Have had physician-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes for more than three months
  • Be currently under the care of a physician for diabetes management
  • Have moderate to severe chronic periodontitis
  • Have had no definitive periodontal treatment during the six months prior to enrollment
  • Have at least 16 natural teeth

Qualified participants will receive teeth cleaning and dental examinations at no cost. Compensation is available, and parking will be validated for clinic visits. For more information on enrolling in the trial, call 205-975-7117 or 205-934-1503.