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Your gum trouble might be stemming from poor diabetes control or even the other way round. Let's take a look at the close relationship that Periodontal Disease and Diabetes share.

Diabetes is a widespread metabolic disorder that affects the functioning of almost all essential organs in the body. It is also a disease that is spreading at a rapid rate, thanks to poor eating habits and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. As previously economically backward nations see growth, particularly the populous nations of China and India, they too are seeing a rapid increase in the incidence and prevalence of diabetes.


The basic disorder with diabetes lies with the transport of glucose from the blood to the cells. It could be caused by an absolute insulin deficiency as in type 1 diabetes or by a reduction in the sensitivity to the insulin receptors as in the case of type 2 Diabetes.

There are other less common types of Diabetes also, however irrespective of the kind of diabetes, there is now an established link between the occurrence of diabetes and periodontal disease. In fact, there is increasing evidence that periodontal disease can also be a factor affecting the causation of diabetes and its long-term control.

Complications Of Diabetes

Some of the classical long-term complications as seen in diabetics all over the world include:

  • Coronary Heart Disease ( Angina and Myocardial Infarction)
  • Pain in the lower half of the body due to poor blood supply
  • Blindness
  • Kidney Failure
  • Neural derangement

It has also now been understood thanks to a wealth of information collected from clinical studies all over the world that these complications are far likelier to occur in people who have a poor control over their Diabetes. This seems like a no-brainer however, it is remarkable how many people struggle to keep their blood sugar levels in the normal range even with the help of medication and regular medical care.

There is also a genetic element to the occurrence and progression of this disease which makes certain people much more susceptible than others.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition affecting the gingival, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and cementum of the teeth. Put simply, it affects all the supporting structures of the teeth. Interestingly, the earliest theories about the occurrence of periodontal disease focused on systemic factors rather than local factors and soon they were refuted by the seemingly more plausible theories that focused more on the disease-causing plaque found on the teeth.

Recently however, evidence has surfaced that systemic factors, particularly diabetes, play a role in the occurrence of periodontal disease as well. In fact, periodontal disease has been named as the sixth classical complication of diabetes.

Signs And Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease

  1. Bleeding from the gums
  2. Loosening of the teeth
  3. Drifting of the teeth away from their normal position
  4. Formation of Periodontal Pockets as well as recession of the gums

See Also: What To Expect From Dental Implant Surgery

It has been estimated that almost 90 percent of the global population suffers from some degree of periodontal disease. While the large majority of cases are manageable by non-surgical means, the others need to undergo surgical therapy along with long-term management to avoid a destruction of their dentition.

So can treatment and management of diabetes prevent periodontal disease? Equally importantly, can treatment of periodontal disease play a role in the management of diabetes?
Continue reading after recommendations

  • 1. Diabetologia. 2012 Jan
  • 55(1): 21–31.Published online 2011 Nov 6. Periodontitis and diabetes: a two-way relationship
  • 2.

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