People with diabetes who get treatment for gum disease may have lower medical costs and hospitalizations, according to University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine research. In a three-year study, patients with diabetes who also had periodontal disease were randomly assigned to either receive periodontal therapy or no treatment. The average cost of medical care for the group receiving treatment was $1,800 lower than the group not receiving treatment. "There have been emerging links between oral infections and systemic diseases such as diabetes, which is increasingly prevalent in our population," says lead researcher Marjorie Jeffcoat. "This study provided direct insight as to how lower hospitalizations could be achieved through periodontal therapy, and we will further this study by analyzing other chronic diseases and conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and pregnancy with pre-term birth." Further research is needed to determine if regular gum care lowers health care costs for people with diabetes.