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Diabetes And Gum Disease

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

We all need to maintain a healthy oral health routine to prevent plaque from forming on our teeth, but research suggests that those with diabetes are especially vulnerable to gum disease (periodontitis).

In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Periodontology,  researchers found, “Poor periodontal health is associated with worsening of glycemic control and complications in diabetes, as well as development of type 2 diabetes.”

diabetes and gum disease quote man eating healthy fruit

People with diabetes may be more susceptible to dry mouth or developing thrush. Saliva naturally protects the teeth by keeping the mouth moist to kill bacteria and neutralize damaging acids that are introduced from foods or the within the body.

Thrush is an oral infection resulting from a buildup of yeast, normally managed naturally by the body, but grows uncontrolled due to a compromised immune system from disease or medications.

Signs of Gum Disease

  1. Red, swollen or bleeding gums

  2. Gums receding from the teeth

  3. Puss appears between the teeth when gums are pressed

  4. Chronic bad breath or bad taste in the mouth

  5. Loose or shifting teeth

  6. Changes in the bite

  7. Changes in how dentures fit


Dr. Roberts looks for all of these signs as part of routine exams, but if you are not maintaining a schedule of periodic exams, some of these indications could be missed. With diabetes, your body’s ability to heal itself can be impaired and gum disease could be more severe and progress quickly.

If you notice signs of gum disease or have any concerns about your oral health, contact us immediately. When identified early, gingivitis can be reversible, which is why seeing Dr. Roberts regularly and taking care of your teeth and gums every day will go a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy.

At Keystone Dental Arts, we advocate that all patients brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, but ideally we would prefer to see patients brush and floss after every meal. For diabetic patients especially, we also recommend regular rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash after meals. If you wear dentures, be sure to rinse between meals and thoroughly clean them once a day.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are pre-diabetes and take medication to control your blood sugar, have had changes in your medications, or are experiencing disease related complications, be sure to share this information with us at your next visit. Dr. Roberts will discuss recommendations for any special care or prevention measures.

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