Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes is a chronic disorder in which the body isn’t able to use or make insulin correctly. This leads to too much glucose, the body’s sugar, the in blood, which can affect your health, including your teeth and gums. Untreated diabetes—in which blood sugar is uncontrolled—can especially affect your oral cavity, leading to increased plaque, tartar, and bacteria [1].

The relationship between diabetes and your dental health can impact your gum tissue, but it also can lead to an increased risk for oral thrush, in which your body can’t control a natural type of fungus that occurs in the oral cavity, as well as dry mouth.

But how exactly does diabetes influence your gum health to potentially cause gum disease? Here’s what you need to know.

The Infection Present in Gum Disease Is Harder to Control With Diabetes

Gum disease—also known as periodontal disease—happens when plaque and bacteria affect your gum tissue to the point that an infection develops. For people with diabetes, particularly undiagnosed or unmanaged diabetes, this infection can be difficult to get under control [2].

People who live with diabetes may be more susceptible to infections, and if gum disease continues to progress, the harder it can be to reverse. The high blood sugar present in people with unmanaged or undiagnosed diabetes can lead to more plaque and bacteria in the oral cavity, which can not only lead to gum disease, but gum disease that’s more challenging to treat.

Diabetes may also interfere with the healing process of the body, making it imperative that you catch gum disease early [3]. Regular exams with your dentist can tell you if you have any early signs of gum disease!

Gum Disease Can Also Affect Blood Sugar

Just as diabetes can influence your risk for gum disease, so existing gum disease can affect your diabetes. Periodontal disease can actually make your blood sugar harder to control, which makes treating gum disease and taking care of your oral health an essential part of your diabetes management [4].

Diabetes and gum disease can both affect the body, and their influence on your health overlaps. Fortunately, by seeing your dentist for regular checkups and getting your diabetes under control to stabilize your blood sugar, you can help prevent oral health problems—and potentially diabetes complications as a result.

Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Early gum disease may not have any symptoms. Others may experience gum swelling, bleeding, tenderness, or a bad taste in their mouth. Some people may also experience chronic bad breath, or gum recession, with teeth beginning to look longer. If you’re experiencing symptoms of gum disease, let your dentist know so he or she can evaluate you. Remember, your dentist is an essential part of your diabetes care. A healthy smile could just help you have a healthy body!

Sources:
1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-
problems/gum-disease-dental-problems
2. https://www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-diabetes.htm
3. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/diabetes
4. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/complications/gum-disease

Summary
Article Name
Diabetes and Gum Disease
Description
Gum disease—also known as periodontal disease—happens when plaque and bacteria affect your gum tissue to the point that an infection develops. For people with diabetes, particularly undiagnosed or unmanaged diabetes, this infection can be difficult to get under control.
Author
Centreville Dental Wellness Centre