Older woman speaking and consulting with the doctor about her concerns

Gum disease and diabetes

Periodontal, or gum, disease occurs when plaque spreads and enters below the gumline – an area difficult to reach and clean with just the bristles of a toothbrush. Once the bacteria infiltrates the gums and the disease takes over, patients can notice redness, swelling, and even bleeding of the gum. This is chronic inflammation, which is a factor in many diseases, including diabetes. Eventually, this inflammation can affect the bone that supports the tooth, leading to loosening of teeth.


Studies show that while aging is a common factor of periodontal disease, those who have been diagnosed with diabetes are 2-3x more likely to suffer from the disease. Diabetes itself plays a major role increasing this statistic, but daily medications and overall lifestyle factors also contribute. 

How can you manage gum disease when you have diabetes?

Start by taking control of your gum disease: With regular periodontal maintenance, you (along with your dentist) will be able to target the germs that enter the gums and access the bloodstream. It is this inflammation that causes the body to fight back and lead to negative effects in the body, such as raising blood sugar levels and other complications. 


Maintain control of your diabetes: The American Academy of Periodontology states that there is a symbiotic relationship between diabetes and your gums. Controlling your blood sugar, eating a balanced diet, and incorporating physical activity into your healthcare routine can help control your diabetes and in turn can help control your gum disease. 

what are my treatment options for treating periodontal disease?

A deep clean, known as Scaling & Root Planing (SRP), will first be necessary to get you back on track and will provide you a fresh start. The goal of this treatment is to remove the built up plaque and calculus while tackling the bacteria living underneath the gums. If needed, antibiotics can be placed directly on and absorbed by the gums. These antibiotics can not only increase the speed of the healing process, but can also work to continue fighting bacteria for the weeks after treatment. 


With regular 3 month visits for dental cleanings and a proper home care routine periodontal disease has an overall good prognosis. The swelling and bleeding should subside overtime and maintaining this cleanliness will become easier for you. Patients who have good control over their periodontal disease tend to have better control over their diabetes, including better HbA1C and lower fasting blood glucose levels.

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