Background: Periodontitis is more common and severe in people with diabetes than the general population. We have reported in the Joslin Medalist Study that people with type 1 diabetes of ≥50 years (Medalists) may have endogenous protective factors against diabetic nephropathy and retinopathy. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, the prevalence of periodontitis according to the Centers for Disease Control/American Academy of Periodontology classification in a subset (n = 170, mean age = 64.6 ± 6.9 years) of the Medalist cohort, and its associations to various criteria of periodontitis and diabetic complications were assessed. Results: The prevalence of severe periodontitis in Medalists was only 13.5% which was lower than reported levels in diabetic patients of similar ages. Periodontal parameters, including bleeding on probing, plaque index, gingival index, and demographic traits, including male sex, chronological age, and age at diagnosis were significantly associated with severity of periodontitis, which did not associate with diabetes duration, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), body mass index, and lipid profiles. Random serum C-peptide levels inversely associated with severity of periodontitis (P = 0.03), lower probing depth (P = 0.0002), and clinical attachment loss (P = 0.03). Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and systemic inflammatory markers, plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6), and serum immunoglobulin G titer against Porphyromonas gingivalis positively associated with severity of periodontitis (P = 0.002 and 0.02, respectively). Antibody titer to P. gingivalis correlated positively and significantly with CVD, serum IL-6, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Conclusions: Some Medalists could be protected from severe periodontitis even with hyperglycemia. Endogenous protective factors for periodontitis could possibly be related to residual insulin production and lower levels of chronic inflammation.
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