What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. Blood sugar levels are naturally controlled in the body by the hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. If insulin cannot be produced, or if it cannot be taken up by the body correctly, the blood sugar levels keep rising.

There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is autoimmune, meaning it occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells which produce insulin. It is unrelated to lifestyle. Type 2 diabetes is also caused by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin but it is related to lifestyle, such as being inactive and overweight. You can develop diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. The NHS website has some good information on this.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis (gum disease) is a progressive gum health condition that causes massive inflammation and discomfort. If left untreated, it becomes the number one cause for tooth loss. There is strong correlation between periodontitis and other serious general health complications such as heart and lung disease. Gum disease can increase your blood sugar levels which can make other complications of diabetes, such as heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidney and nerve problems worse.

What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

They include:

  • Red, swollen, painful gums bleeding easily upon brushing and flossing
  • Pus/discharge, an unpleasant mouth taste, bad breath
  • A noticeable change in gum texture from firm to soft
  • Black triangles appearing between the teeth
  • Migration of teeth, causing appearance of gaps
  • In moderate to severe cases, periodontal pockets (gaps) occur between your affected tooth and your gumline
  • Loose teeth and the start of genuine concern of imminent tooth loss

Speak to a dental professional today

Our dentists have all the experience, skill and technology required to advice on diabetes and periodontitis. Arrange an appointment with our dental team at our central London dental clinic, situated on the prestigious Wimpole Street.

What is the relationship between diabetes and periodontitis?

There is a link between diabetes and gum disease, each disease affecting the other, but we do not fully understand this relationship. 

Gum disease is quite common. But when you have diabetes, your risk is higher.

Gum disease can increase your blood sugar levels which can make other complications of diabetes, such as heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidney and nerve problems worse.

Controlling gum disease can help you control your blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can weaken gums and slow wound healing. These complications can make dental surgeries (if required) challenging to perform safely and are not advised if the blood sugar levels are especially high or are in a currently uncontrolled state.

If you are diabetic – how do you reduce your risk of developing periodontitis?

  • Book an appointment with your GP to get your high blood sugar levels under control
  • Check your understanding of your diabetes and the medications you take
  • Book an appointment with both your dentist and your dental hygienist to discuss your diabetes, medication and current oral health issues and concerns
  • Inform all your health professionals if any changes occur
  • Future-proof your oral health further with a full schedule of dental appointments with both your dentist and dental hygienist going forward

If you are diabetic and concerned about periodontitis risk, book a friendly and professional consultation with Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, today.