The Connection Between Gum Disease and Diabetes

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Gum disease on its own can quickly get out of hand as the infection spreads around your mouth. Unfortunately, the bacteria that cause gum disease can also enter your bloodstream, spreading to other parts of your body, and aggravating systemic health problems. One of the biggest connections in Greenwich, CT known from periodontal disease has to your physical body is with diabetes.


Studies show that patients with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease. Similarly, other studies show that untreated infection from gum disease can make it more difficult to manage gum disease. With such a direct link between these two dangerous conditions, it is important to understand how they affect each other and when to seek specialized treatment.

What Is Gum Disease?

To understand the connection between gum disease and diabetes, it’s important to first understand what gum disease is and how it develops. Periodontal disease begins when bacterial plaque is left to harden into tartar. The result is an infection of the gum tissues, which become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. This creates greater space below the gum line and in the periodontal pockets between teeth, which collect more tartar buildup and bacteria. Gum disease in its most advanced stages can cause irreversible damage to oral structures and increase the risk for mobile teeth and tooth loss.

How Gum Disease and Diabetes Are Linked

For patients already suffering from diabetes, a compromised immune system makes it difficult to fight off the infection from the bacteria present on the teeth and gums. Especially if a patient is not maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine or visits to the hygienist, gum disease can quickly develop and cause harm to the gum tissues and bone. Similarly, the presence of gum disease and resulting chronic low-grade infection can lead to a rise in blood sugar levels. In addition to diabetes making it challenging to stave off infection from gum disease, so this same disease can make it challenging to control diabetes (blood sugar levels). You’ll need your periodontist and doctor to work together to help you improve your health and wellbeing with the proper treatment, diet, and lifestyle changes.


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Think you may have signs of gum disease? Schedule an evaluation in our Dental office in Greenwich, CT with your local periodontist today.

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