Diabetes and periodontal diseases:
Diabetes that is not properly controlled can lead to periodontal (gum) diseases in both young and old people. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place.
Because of blood vessel changes that occur with diabetes, the thickened blood vessels can impair the efficiency of the flow of nutrients and removal of wastes from body tissues. This impaired blood flow can weaken the gums and bone, making them more susceptible to infection.
In addition, if diabetes is poorly controlled, higher glucose levels in the mouth fluids will encourage the growth of bacteria that can cause gum disease. A third factor, smoking, is harmful to oral health even for people without diabetes. However, a person with diabetes who smokes is at a much greater risk for gum disease than a person who does not have diabetes.
Paired with poor oral hygiene, diabetes can lead to gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, or to periodontitis, severe gum disease.
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
The following are the most common symptoms of gum disease. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
red, swollen, tender gums
bleeding while brushing and/or flossing
loose or separating teeth
persistent odorous breath
dentures no longer fit
pus between the teeth and gums
a change in bite and jaw alignment
The symptoms of gum disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult a dentist or other oral health specialist for a diagnosis.
What are the different types of periodontal disease?
The different types of periodontal disease are often classified by the stage the disease has advanced to at the time of evaluation, including:
With gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease, the gums are likely to become red, swollen, and tender, causing them to bleed easily during daily cleanings and flossing. Treatment by a dentist and proper, consistent care at home help to resolve the problems associated with gingivitis.
Untreated gingivitis leads to mild periodontitis. This stage of gum disease shows evidence of the bone around the tooth starting to erode. Prompt medical attention is necessary to prevent further erosion and damage.
moderate to advanced periodontitis
This most advance stage of gum disease shows significant bone and tissue loss surrounding the teeth.
Treatment for periodontal disease:
Specific treatment for periodontal disease will be determined by your dentist based on:
your age, overall health, and medical history
extent of the disease
your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
expectations for the course of the disease
your opinion or preference
Treatment may include any, or a combination of, the following:
Deep cleaning can help remove the plaque and infected tissue in the early stages of the disease, while smoothing the damaged root surfaces of the teeth. The gums can then be reattached to the teeth.
When the disease is advanced, the infected areas under the gums will be cleaned, and the tissues will then be reshaped or replaced. Types of surgeries include:
a regeneration procedure
a soft-tissue graft
© 2000-2015 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
- Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2013, is. 36, pp. s11-66.
- National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_teeth/index.aspx
- American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/brush-and-fl...
- American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and...
- American Dental Association. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes.aspx
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/Diabetes/