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Diabetes mellitus promotes periodontal destruction in children


  • Conflict of interest and source of funding statement
    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
    This investigation was supported by USPHS Research Grant DE14898 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Evanthia Lalla
Division of Periodontics
Section of Oral and Diagnostic Sciences
College of Dental Medicine,
Columbia University
630 W. 168th Street, PH7E-110
New York, NY 10032,


Aim: The association between diabetes mellitus and periodontal attachment and bone loss is well established. Most of the prior literature has focused on adults, and studies in children have mostly reported gingival changes. Our aim was to assess the periodontal status of a large cohort of children and adolescents with diabetes.

Material and Methods: We examined 350 children with diabetes (cases) and 350 non-diabetic controls (6–18 years of age). Using three different case definitions for periodontal disease, which incorporated gingival bleeding and/or attachment loss findings, multiple logistic regression analyses adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, frequency of prior dental visits, dental plaque, and examiner were performed.

Results: Subjects with diabetes had increased gingival inflammation and attachment loss compared with controls. Regression analyses revealed statistically significant differences in periodontal destruction between cases and controls across all disease definitions tested (odds ratios ranging from 1.84 to 3.72). The effect of diabetes on periodontal destruction remained significant when we separately analysed 6–11 and 12–18 year old subgroups.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate an association between diabetes and an increased risk for periodontal destruction even very early in life, and suggest that programmes to address periodontal needs should be the standard of care for diabetic youth.