Diabetes: A Major Cause of Gum Diseases

Among modern diseases, diabetes is one of the most widespread. Statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that the number of diabetes patients has increased by more than three times in the last 35 years. In the US, roughly 30 million people from all types of demographics are suffering from diabetes, out of which 27 million are suffering from the type 2.

Diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, is notorious for its various detrimental effects on many different physiological functions of the body. Oral health is also not spared from the damning impact of the blood glucose irregularity, particularly the one of type 2 diabetes.

Gum Complications Spring out of Diabetes

Many periodontal diseases can be acquired following the type 2 diabetes. It will be important to know the underlying reason as to how and why diabetes becomes a springboard for numerous gum diseases.

Connection between Diabetes and Gum Diseases

In type 2 diabetes, glucose levels in the body fluids get higher due to the failure of the pancreas to produce enough amount of insulin, a hormone integral to regulate glucose in the body. Saliva, a body fluid just like blood and sweat, also gets its glucose level increased in type 2 diabetes.

Oral cavity with continuing glucose-rich saliva is more prone to the development of plague because harmful bacteria develop exponentially in such oral environment. The growth of these harmful bacteria in people suffering from type 2 diabetes can give rise to many different types of gum diseases.


Gingivitis is the most common side effect of diabetes on oral health. It is an unhealthy state of gum caused by inflammation. Symptoms of gingivitis are pretty evident with red, inflamed or bleeding gums.


Without proper treatment and with ongoing effects of diabetes, gingivitis can easily be transformed into periodontitis. In this severe type of gum disease, things go far worse for the people affected by diabetes. Some of the common symptoms of periodontitis are:

  • Pulled away gums
  • Constant bad breath    
  • Changed chewing pattern
  • Formation of infectious pus between teeth and gum


People with higher glucose levels in their blood are also vulnerable to acquire yeast infection in the oral cavity called thrush. Usually, it appears as red or white scraps on gums and other parts of the cavity. These scraps sometimes also turn into open sores.

Diabetic individuals often take different antibiotics to relieve the awful effects of unregulated glucose levels. Most of these prescription medicines can result in the development of fungus in the oral cavity in the form of thrush.  

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Oral cavity with an uncontrolled level of glucose can also lead to a rare problem of burning mouth syndrome. Affected individuals feel burning sensation in their gums with extreme dryness and bitterness of taste.

Diabetes and Gum Diseases Reciprocate Each Other

Diabetes and oral health respond to each other. If diabetes facilitates the development of gum problems then in return severe gum infections might contribute in raising the glucose levels in the blood. This reciprocation becomes very dangerous for the affected people.

Therefore, diabetic patients must not consider any sign of dental health deterioration inconsequential. Apart from maintaining a good routine of dental health care (regular brushing, flossing, healthy diet), it is better to have regular checkups from a dentist.

When to Consult a Dentist?

People suffering from diabetes must respond to these signs immediately to protect their dental health.

  • Even a momentarily gum inflammation in diabetic individuals can lead to periodontitis. Therefore, immediately consult your dentist in case of even minor inflammations.  
  • Dry mouth in patients suffering from diabetes is not a just mere inconvenience because it can lead to the development of many different oral infections and eventual tooth decay.
  • The appearance of any white or red spot or patch on gum, tongue or inner mouth walls also commands an immediate consultation from a dentist.

Diabetes is a chronic disease. Therefore, one must have to remain on guard all the time to ensure better dental health. Try to maintain your blood sugar in healthy range. Use antiseptic, non-alcoholic mouthwash to prevent dry mouth and to kill oral pathogens. Brush your teeth with a soft bristle toothbrush after every meal and floss once a day at least to protect your dental health from the perils of diabetes.


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