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Does Diabetes Increase the Risk of Periodontitis

Does Diabetes Increase the Risk of Periodontitis

The connection between diabetes and periodontal disease is a matter of significant concern. For starters, if you have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop this pesky dental condition. And trust us, you don’t want it – periodontal disease can cause gum inflammation and is rampant worldwide.

The severity of the periodontal disease can range from a mild case of gum irritation (gingivitis) to a full-blown bacterial infection that can ravage your soft tissue, teeth, and even bones (periodontitis).

But wait, there’s more! Brace yourself because this one’s a doozy: diabetic individuals with severe gum disease actually have less control over their blood sugar levels than their counterparts with healthy gums. And to add it, advanced periodontitis may worsen other diabetes complications like kidney, retina, and cardiovascular problems.

The good news is that periodontal treatment has been shown to help diabetic patients with periodontitis improve their blood sugar control.

However, not all health professionals are up to speed on this, and more research is needed to understand the link between diabetes and periodontal disease fully.

So, what does science has to tell us so far? Keep reading to find out!

How are Diabetes and Periodontal Disease Related? 

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease is multifaceted and interdependent. Here are some of the main ways in which the two conditions are linked:

Elevated Blood Sugar


Elevated Blood Sugar

Individuals with moderate to severe gum disease have higher sugar levels in their bodies, which can make it difficult for them to maintain control over their blood sugar. Moreover, the high sugar levels found in the mouth of diabetic individuals provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, worsening periodontal infections.

Blood Vessel Thickening
Blood Vessel Thickening

Thickened blood vessels are a major concern for people with diabetes. The blood vessels usually deliver nutrients and remove waste products, but when they become too thick, harmful waste can be left in the mouth, weakening gum tissue and leading to infection and gum disease.


Tobacco use can cause damage to the oral region, slowing the healing process and increasing the chances of developing gum disease. Diabetic smokers over 45 are particularly at risk, with a twenty-fold increased likelihood of developing the condition.

Poor Oral Hygiene
poor oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for people with diabetes. When daily brushing and flossing are neglected, harmful oral bacteria can feed on the excess sugar between teeth and colonize below the gum line, exacerbating metabolic issues that diabetes sufferers experience.

Does Diabetes Increase the Risk of Periodontitis?

Given the correlation between diabetes and periodontal disease, it’s natural to wonder if diabetes increases the risk of periodontitis.

Research studies indicate that individuals with diabetes have a significantly higher risk of developing periodontitis, up to three times greater than those without diabetes, particularly if their blood sugar levels are poorly managed.
While most studies have focused on type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes carries a higher risk for periodontitis.

Why are glycaemic (blood sugar or HbA1c) levels significant?

When individuals with diabetes have poor control over their blood sugar levels, they may experience an increased inflammatory response to the bacteria involved in gum disease. This makes them more vulnerable to developing a severe infection, such as periodontitis.

Signs of Periodontal Disease

The following are the prevailing indicators of gum disease:

  • Tender, swollen, or reddish gums.
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing.
  • Gums that are receding.
  • Teeth that feel loose or have shifted apart.
  • Chronic halitosis.
  • Difficulty wearing dentures comfortably.
  • The presence of pus between the gums and teeth.
  • A modification in bite and jaw alignment.

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: Steps to Prevent Gum Disease 

It is paramount that diabetic people are familiar with the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. It helps empower them to take the best care of their oral health.

  • It’s important to inform your dentist about your diabetes diagnosis so they can assist you in taking care of your oral health.
  • Maintaining a safe blood sugar level should be a collaborative effort with your physician.
  • To prevent the link between diabetes and periodontal disease from adversely affecting your oral health, you must remember one thing. Poor glycaemic control may render you more susceptible to oral inflammation.
  • If you experience hypoglycemia and need to consume carbohydrates such as fruit juice or sweets, it’s advisable to follow up with water to flush out the sugar. Brushing your teeth immediately after is not recommended. Instead, waiting at least an hour is best for your mouth to return to normal pH levels.
  • If you smoke, it is advisable that you quit smoking, as it increases the risk of gum disease.

How is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
Gum Disease Diagnosed

When diagnosing gum disease, your dentist will inquire about your medical history, current medications, and health issues. It’s crucial to inform your dentist about your diabetes history and how effectively your blood sugar is being controlled. Along with your medical history, the dentist will:

  • Examine your gums for indications of inflammation.
  • Utilize a small instrument called a probe to assess any pockets surrounding your teeth.
  • Conduct X-rays to detect any bone loss.

Periodontal Disease Treatment 

Treatment for periodontal disease can include various options:

Deep Cleaning 

Also known as scaling and root planing, it involves removing tartar and plaque from beneath the gums.  smoothing the root surfaces of the teeth. It can help the gums reattach to the teeth and reduce the size of the periodontal pockets.


Your dentist may apply antibiotics directly into the pockets or prescribe them in pill form to help control the infection.


In advanced cases of periodontitis, your dentist may perform surgical procedures to clean the infected areas beneath the gums. It might also involve reshaping or replacing damaged tissues and promoting gum and bone regeneration. Surgeries may include pocket reduction, soft tissue grafts, periodontal regeneration, or crown lengthening.

Get Personalized Care for Gum Disease at Periodontal Specialists 

The adverse effect of the link between diabetes and periodontal disease can significantly harm your oral health. We at Periodontal Specialists are here to help you with distinctive treatment options.

The team of professionals at Periodontal Specialists is available to assist you in preventing gum disease and treating all stages of it. Our clinics located in Northfield, Owatonna, Red Wing, Rochester, and Winona are dedicated to delivering the highest level of care while ensuring our patients feel at ease. To schedule an appointment or learn more, please complete the contact form.

Let’s start your journey to better oral health today!