Unmanaged diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to periodontal (gum) diseases in both young and old people. Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums and bones that are responsible for holding our teeth in place.

Diabetes and periodontal disease
Because of blood vessel changes that occur due to high blood sugar levels in 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.

Additionally 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 to be considered is smoking. Smoking is harmful to the oral health of people even without diabetes. However, a person with diabetes who also smokes is at a much greater risk of getting 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.

Symptoms of periodontal disease may include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing and/or flossing
  • Receding gums which make teeth look longer
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Persistent odorous breath
  • Dentures no longer fit
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • A change in bite and jaw alignment

Diabetes can also cause other oral problems like Thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth and Dry mouth.

It is extremely important to be aware of these changes in your body. If you notice any of these symptoms then seek immediate interventions to avoid further and irreversible complications to your teeth and gums.

Reshma Phulwar