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The Link Between Gum Disease & Diabetes

A strong link between periodontal disease and diabetes has been discovered after many decades of research. That link is understood by both dental and medical professionals to be a two-way connection. Not only can diabetes increase your risk of developing gum disease, if you have gum disease, you may be at higher risk of developing diabetes.

THE PERIO/DIABETES RELATIONSHIP

Diabetes may have an influence on the development of periodontal disease because diabetes can reduce your body’s immune response, which makes you more susceptible to a gum infection. Considering the statistics that in the United States, 29.1 million people have diabetes, 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year, and over 8 million people are estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes, its links to gum disease are important to understand.

Periodontal disease is considered the sixth complication of diabetes! That means that having active gum disease can put you at risk for diabetes.  Considering that half of Americans over age 30 have periodontal disease, that means that over 64 million people are at higher risk of developing diabetes.

Because these two conditions are so strongly connected, it is important to understand how they are connected and how you can improve your oral health to reduce your health risks.

HOW DOES DIABETES AFFECT GUM HEALTH?

The risk of periodontal disease in patients with diabetes is directly connected to how well diabetes is controlled. In patients with poor glycemic control, the risk for periodontal disease is increased by 2-3 times. In addition, diabetes contributes to how severe and quickly periodontitis progresses.  

Proper management of your diabetes is crucial for your health and to help reduce your risks for periodontal disease and tooth loss.

HOW DO YOUR GUMS AFFECT BLOOD SUGAR?

The American Dental Association (ADA) published research that suggests gum disease can raise your blood sugar. Their research compared people with healthy gums and people with active gum disease. They found that people who had active gum disease had higher long-term blood sugar levels. Researchers believe that harmful oral bacteria can be introduced into the bloodstream more easily through infected gum tissue. That bacteria, which flows through the bloodstream, triggers your body’s immune system to produce molecules that raise blood sugar. That harmful bacteria can be introduced into your body by simply brushing or eating!

CAN PERIODONTAL TREATMENT HELP CONTROL DIABETES?

Several new studies suggest that periodontal therapies can have positive effects on blood glucose levels. These studies show that patients with diabetes can benefit if their dental professionals and medical providers work in coordination for their diabetes management.

IF I HAVE DIABETES, HOW CAN I HELP IMPROVE MY ORAL AND OVERALL HEALTH?

Yes!

A few simple dental health steps can help to improve your health:

  • Good Oral Homecare – Manages harmful bacteria on a daily basis.
  • Regular Dental Cleanings – Removes bacterial biofilm from under the gums, which may contribute to active gum disease.
  • Periodontal Evaluation – If your dentist suspects that you have gum disease, they will refer you to a highly-qualified periodontal practice where they can offer periodontal therapy to treat your infection.  

If you have already been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you now know how it can be directly linked to diabetes. That is why it is important to make an appointment for an examination and consultation with the premier periodontics center in Central PA. At your appointment, our periodontist in Enola, PA can discuss the links between periodontal disease and diabetes and offer appropriate treatment to reduce risks and optimize your overall health.  

Contact us at 717.972.0031 or online for an appointment.