29 / 04 / 2024

In recent years, an increasing body of research has shed light on the intricate relationship between diabetes and gum disease. The correlation between these two conditions goes beyond mere coincidence, with compelling evidence suggesting a bidirectional link that can significantly impact both oral and systemic health. Let's delve into this complex interplay and explore the key insights provided by leading experts in periodontology.


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Unveiling the link between diabetes & gum disease

Understanding the Connection: Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes, marked by high blood sugar levels, is a known risk factor for periodontal disease. Conversely, periodontal disease may worsen blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes. This bidirectional relationship underscores the importance of comprehensive oral care in managing diabetes and mitigating its complications.

Insights from the British Society of Periodontology

The British Society of Periodontology (BSP) provides valuable insights into the intricate interplay between diabetes and gum disease. According to BSP, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease due to impaired immune function, delayed wound healing, and heightened inflammatory response. Moreover, poorly controlled diabetes can exacerbate the severity of periodontal disease, leading to increased tooth loss and oral complications.

Impact on Oral Health

Gum disease, if left untreated, can wreak havoc on oral health, causing symptoms such as gum inflammation, bleeding, and eventual tooth loss. In individuals with diabetes, the stakes are even higher, as uncontrolled periodontal disease can further compromise glycaemic control and exacerbate systemic inflammation. This vicious cycle underscores the importance of proactive dental care and regular periodontal screenings for individuals living with diabetes.

Managing Periodontal Disease in Diabetes

Managing periodontal disease in individuals with diabetes requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both oral hygiene and glycaemic control. The BSP emphasizes the importance of collaboration between dental and medical professionals to optimize treatment outcomes and improve overall health outcomes for patients with diabetes. By integrating periodontal care into diabetes management protocols, healthcare providers can empower patients to take control of their oral health and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Empowering Patients Through Education

Education plays a pivotal role in empowering patients to proactively manage their oral health and diabetes. Raising awareness about the diabetes-gum disease link empowers patients to adopt healthy habits like regular dental visits, thorough oral hygiene, and blood sugar monitoring. Open communication between patients and healthcare providers enables early detection and intervention, enhancing treatment outcomes and quality of life.

Conclusion: A Call to Action

The diabetes-gum disease link emphasizes the importance of comprehensive oral care to manage diabetes and reduce complications. Healthcare professionals can integrate periodontal care into diabetes management, improving patient outcomes with insights from organizations like the British Society of Periodontology. Let’s unite oral and systemic health to empower individuals with diabetes to lead healthier lives.

Here are some essential tips for managing oral health care in relation to periodontal disease:
  • Establish a Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine: Develop a daily routine that includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and cleaning in between your teeth at least once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently clean your teeth and along the gumline. Spit excess toothpaste out but do not rinse away the fluoride as it will continue strengthening your teeth.


  • Use Proper Brushing Technique: Brush gently in circular motions, covering all tooth surfaces, including front, back, and chewing areas. Focus on the gumline where plaque gathers. With an electric brush, guide it slowly over each tooth for at least 2 minutes.


  • Regularly clean in-between your teeth: Interdental cleaning helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline, where your toothbrush may not reach. Be gentle when cleaning to avoid injuring your gums.


  • Consider Interdental Cleaning Devices: In addition to traditional floss and interdental brushes, you could consider a water flosser to clean between your teeth and around dental appliances, such as braces or bridges. This devices can be particularly helpful for individuals with periodontal disease.


  • Rinse with Mouthwash: An antiseptic mouthwash reduces bacteria and plaque, especially in hard-to-reach spots. Choose one designed for gum health and use it at least 30 minutes after brushing to retain fluoride.


  • Keep up with Dental Check-Ups: Schedule regular appointments with your dentist or periodontist to monitor your gum and teeth health. These appointments allow your dental professional to detect and treat periodontal disease in its early stages, preventing further damage.


  • Follow Your Dentist’s Treatment Plan: If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, follow your dentist’s/periodontist’s or hygienists treatment plan diligently. This may include professional cleanings, scaling and root planning (deep cleaning), antibiotic therapy, or other interventions to manage the disease.


  • Quit Smoking/Vaping: Smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease and can hinder your body’s ability to fight infection and heal damaged tissue. If you smoke, consider quitting to improve your oral health and overall well-being.


  • Manage Underlying Health Conditions: Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease and may affect your body’s ability to heal. Work with your healthcare provider to manage any underlying health conditions and maintain optimal overall health.


  • Practice Stress Management: Stress can weaken your immune system and exacerbate inflammation, potentially worsening periodontal disease. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing, or hobbies that bring you joy.


By following these tips, you can effectively manage periodontal disease and keep your smile healthy for years. Remember to consult with your dentist or hygienist for personalized advice and treatment recommendations tailored to your individual needs.


Meet our Periodontal Team


Dr Vivek Giddani : BDS, Pg DipDCSc (U-Lon), LDSRCS (Eng), MFDSRCS (Ed), MCGDent, Pg DipPerio (U-Plym) GDC: 185505



Chloe Evans: BSCs (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Cardiff University 2021


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