Is there a link between diabetes and gum disease?

January 19, 2024

It is not commonly known, but yes there is a relationship between diabetes and gum disease (periodontal disease).

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease which affects the supporting structures of teeth – the gums, ligaments, and bone. Gingivitis is the early reversible stage of periodontal disease. Signs that you may have gingivitis are bleeding red and/or swollen gums. Gingivitis is caused by an accumulation of plaque along the gumline. If the plaque is not removed, it hardens and turns into calculus causing irritation of the gums. With regular check-up and cleans to remove calculus the symptoms can subside. Continuation of oral hygiene at home between dental visits to maintain the health of your gums is imperative. Untreated gingivitis results in periodontitis, that not only affects the gums but the bone surrounding the teeth as well. Signs that you may have periodontitis are bleeding red or swollen gums, receding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. Periodontitis is a slow progressive disease; however, the destruction of the surrounding supporting structures is largely irreversible. Periodontitis causes the gums to recede, detachments of the ligaments surrounding the teeth and ultimately causing bone resorption, and tooth loss.

Periodontitis affects 10-15% of adults, and those that have diabetes are three times more susceptible. Diabetes that is not controlled increases blood glucose levels in the fluids excreted by the gums. Bacteria in our mouths feed off the sugar creating plaque and calculus, leading to gum disease. In contrast, untreated periodontal disease can lead to the rise in blood sugar levels which makes it difficult to control diabetes.

For optimal management of diabetes routine check-up and cleans at the dentist are crucial. Give us a call here in Capalaba, and one of our lovely receptionists will help book you in.

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