How can Gum Disease and Diabetes Interrelate?

What happens to the body with diabetes?   While type I and type II are 2 different diseases, they have a common thread in that there is a problem with the insulin produced by the pancreas. The end result is that the sugar levels are not controlled, and many systemic problems develop. In the mouth, the first obvious sign is the sweet breath from ketosis – ketone bodies found in the bloodstream when glycogen bodies are depleted.

What happens with gum disease? The big culprit is the inflammation caused by plaque in the teeth. The response of this inflammation is twofold: inflammation of the gum results in puffy swollen gums, and the bone holding in the teeth slowly dissolves as a result of the toxins in the area. If allowed to continue, bone will continue to disappear, the teeth will loosen and get infected or fall out. This is not a welcome condition!

In diabetic patients, with increased sugar levels and a more acidic environment, the bacteria can proliferate, thus giving more periodontal problems for the patient.

So good home care, periodontal treatment (such as a deep cleaning or periodontal surgery) will make it much easier for the adverse effects of diabetes to be lessened.

Getting the diabetes under control and/or medication will make gum problems less severe. It does NOT mean that the patient does not have to practice good home care—I see plenty of gum problems in patients without diabetes. But diabetes is a systemic problem with manifestations throughout the body which need constant monitoring and may need special medications.