The Link Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

diabetes and gum disease link

Diabetes can cause several different diseases such as DKA, heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, skin problems, and even strokes. Did you know it can damage your mouth as well?

Diabetes increases your risk of getting gum disease. There is a strong link between diabetes and gum disease that should bring some alarm.

Therefore, it is important to brush your teeth, floss, and rinse your mouth with antibacterial mouthwash twice a day or as recommended by your dentist.

Just like most of the other diseases listed, the biggest link is from poor management of diabetes. According to WebMD, “People with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than do persons with good control” (WebMD, 2017).

In fact, people that manage their diabetes well are not at a larger risk of gum disease than people without diabetes. The best weapon you can use to prevent gum disease is to control your blood sugar levels.

You can do this by eating a healthy diet with complex carbohydrates. Not only that, but you can exercise the recommended 150 minutes a week. Eating meals consistently at the same time each day and watching your portion sizes will help drastically in the long run.

WebMD states, “Scientists believe many complications, including gum disease, can be prevented with good diabetic control” (WebMD, 2017). Therefore, take the steps that you need to take to get your blood sugar into its target range. If you already have, great job! Keep up the great work!

There are some other risks that go along with diabetes. The thickening of blood cells also increases the risk of getting gum disease.

Blood vessels not only deliver oxygen and nourishment to the mouth, but they also take away the waste products and bacteria.

This slows down the process of getting the proper nutrition to the mouth and taking away harmful bacteria and waste.

This will hinder your mouth making it difficult to fight off infections in the bones and gums. Talk to your dentist if you are experiencing mouth pain or your teeth are pushing out from your gums.

Bacteria normally thrives on glucose. Therefore, if you have high amounts of glucose inside of your body, then the bacteria in your mouth will start to grow more and more.

Not only will your body struggle to fight off bacteria, there will be more of it if your blood sugar levels are uncontrolled.

Finally, smoking is a huge factor in the development of gum disease. WebMD states, smokers are five times more likely to develop gum disease (WebMD, 2017). Not only does smoking raise your risk of cancer and heart disease, it can also extremely damage your mouth.

Per WebMD, “If you are a smoker with diabetes, age 45 or older, you are 20 times more likely than a person without these risk factors to get severe gum disease” (WebMD, 2017). I would highly recommend you talk to a doctor about quitting smoking.

Overall, diabetes that is controlled will not improve your risk of diabetes. Talk to a dentist if you feel like you might be developing gum disease.


WebMD. (2017). Diabetes and periodontal disease. WebMD. Retrieved from