Correlation between periodontal disease and diabetes

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It can lead to damage to the soft tissues and bone supporting the teeth, which can lead to tooth loss.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood. It can lead to complications such as vision problems, heart disease and increased risk of infections, including in the mouth.

There is a strong correlation between periodontal disease and diabetes. People with diabetes are more prone to infections, including in the mouth, because of changes in their immune system and blood circulation problems. High blood glucose levels can also increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, as glucose can promote the growth of bacteria that cause infections in the mouth.

On the other hand, periodontal disease can contribute to worsening diabetes. Chronic infections, such as periodontal disease, can increase the level of inflammation in the body, which can lead to greater difficulty in controlling blood glucose. Also, tooth loss due to periodontal disease can make it more difficult to chew and digest food, which can lead to nutritional problems for people with diabetes.


If bone resorption is isolated, involving a limited number of teeth, surgery can be performed by adding bone.

However, if the process is generalized, affecting the entire arch, surgical therapy is no longer an option.

Diabetes mellitus may be considered a risk factor for the onset and aggravation of periodontal disease by decreasing the host’s defence mechanisms in the presence of plaque. In diabetes, all metabolic and defence processes are altered and slower.

Periodontal disease may be genetically inherited, may be influenced by vices such as smoking, or may be initiated or aggravated by chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.

Clinical signs of periodontal disease:

  • red, swollen, sensitive gums

  • receding gums

  • bleeding gums when brushing and chewing

  • pus between tooth and gum

  • bad mouth odor

  • loss of teeth or change in their position

In patients suffering from periodontal disease as well as diabetes, the above symptoms are complemented by the following:

  • low salivary flow

  • dry mouth

  • burning all over the mouth, including the tongue.

Bacterial plaque is ubiquitous in the oral cavity, forming continuously shortly after brushing. Complete removal of plaque is not possible, so a sterile, uncontaminated oral cavity is an ideal that will never be achieved. Studies report that periodontal disease is more common in patients diagnosed with diabetes than in people without diabetes, and also that periodontal infection can worsen the blood glucose status of patients with diabetes.

Thus, there is a bidirectional relationship between the two diseases, with each aggravating the other.

By regularly checking and measuring plaque levels and blood glucose levels and following the treatment recommended by the dentist and diabetologist, both diseases can be kept within limits that do not affect the patient’s daily life.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by a deficiency in the secretion or uptake of insulin by specialized cells.


Although the site of this pathology is the pancreas, diabetes can also manifest itself in the oral cavity through the following complications:

  • mucosal dryness or xerostomia

  • sensitivity of oral tissues to trauma and delayed wound healing

  • accumulation of bacterial plaque

  • increased risk of caries and periodontal disease

  • predisposition to develop infections


It is important for people with diabetes to maintain their oral health by practicing proper oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups. Prompt treatment of periodontal disease can also help prevent diabetes complications.

Preventing the development of periodontal disease in patients with diabetes is achieved by brushing at least twice a day and using the adjunctive hygiene methods of interdental brushes, flossing and mouthwash. Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes and whose blood glucose levels are within normal limits are not at risk of developing or worsening periodontal disease.

Regular check-ups with both the dentist and the diabetologist reduce the risk of worsening these two diseases.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.