Unveiling the link between diabetes & gum disease

20 / 03 / 2024

In recent years, an increasing body of research has shed light on the intricate relationship between diabetes and gum disease. The correlation between these two conditions goes beyond mere coincidence, with compelling evidence suggesting a bidirectional link that can significantly impact both oral and systemic health. Let's delve into this complex interplay and explore the key insights provided by leading experts in periodontology.


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  1. Unveiling the link between diabetes & gum disease
Understanding the Connection: Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, has long been recognized as a significant risk factor for periodontal disease. Conversely, emerging evidence suggests that periodontal disease, affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth, may exacerbate glycaemic control in individuals with diabetes. This bidirectional relationship underscores the importance of comprehensive oral care in managing diabetes and mitigating its complications.

Insights from the British Society of Periodontology

The British Society of Periodontology (BSP) provides valuable insights into the intricate interplay between diabetes and gum disease. According to BSP, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease due to impaired immune function, delayed wound healing, and heightened inflammatory response. Moreover, poorly controlled diabetes can exacerbate the severity of periodontal disease, leading to increased tooth loss and oral complications.

Impact on Oral Health

Gum disease, if left untreated, can wreak havoc on oral health, causing symptoms such as gum inflammation, bleeding, and eventual tooth loss. In individuals with diabetes, the stakes are even higher, as uncontrolled periodontal disease can further compromise glycaemic control and exacerbate systemic inflammation. This vicious cycle underscores the importance of proactive dental care and regular periodontal screenings for individuals living with diabetes.

Managing Periodontal Disease in Diabetes

Managing periodontal disease in individuals with diabetes requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both oral hygiene and glycaemic control. The BSP emphasizes the importance of collaboration between dental and medical professionals to optimize treatment outcomes and improve overall health outcomes for patients with diabetes. By integrating periodontal care into diabetes management protocols, healthcare providers can empower patients to take control of their oral health and reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Empowering Patients Through Education

Education plays a pivotal role in empowering patients to proactively manage their oral health and diabetes. By raising awareness of the link between diabetes and gum disease, healthcare professionals can empower patients to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours, such as regular dental visits, meticulous oral hygiene practices, and blood sugar monitoring. Moreover, fostering open communication between patients and healthcare providers can facilitate early detection and intervention, ultimately improving treatment outcomes and quality of life.

Conclusion: A Call to Action

The link between diabetes and gum disease highlights the importance of comprehensive oral care in managing diabetes and reducing the risk of associated complications. By leveraging the insights provided by organizations like the British Society of Periodontology, healthcare professionals can take proactive steps to integrate periodontal care into diabetes management protocols and improve patient outcomes. Together, we can bridge the gap between oral and systemic health and empower individuals with diabetes to lead healthier, happier lives.

Here are some essential tips for managing oral health care in relation to periodontal disease:
  • Establish a Consistent Oral Hygiene Routine: Develop a daily routine that includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day and cleaning in between your teeth at least once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently clean your teeth and along the gumline. Spit excess toothpaste out but do not rinse away the fluoride as it will continue strengthening your teeth.


  • Use Proper Brushing Technique: Brush your teeth using gentle, circular motions and be sure to reach all surfaces of your teeth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. Pay extra attention to the gumline, where plaque tends to accumulate. If using an electric brush, let the head do most of the work, slowly guiding it over every tooth surface, including your gums.  It should take you 2 minutes + .


  • Regularly clean in-between your teeth: Interdental cleaning helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline, where your toothbrush may not reach. Be gentle when cleaning to avoid injuring your gums.


  • Consider Interdental Cleaning Devices: In addition to traditional floss and interdental brushes, you could consider a water flosser to clean between your teeth and around dental appliances, such as braces or bridges. This devices can be particularly helpful for individuals with periodontal disease.


  • Rinse with Mouthwash: Using an antiseptic mouthwash can help reduce bacteria and plaque in your mouth, especially in areas that are difficult to reach with brushing and flossing alone. Look for a mouthwash that is specifically formulated for gum health. Use a mouth wash at least 30 minutes after brushing your teeth so you don’t rinse all that lovely fluoride away.


  • Maintain Regular Dental Check-Ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your dentist or periodontist to monitor the health of your gums and teeth. These appointments allow your dental professional to detect and treat periodontal disease in its early stages, preventing further damage.


  • Follow Your Dentist’s Treatment Plan: If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, follow your dentist’s/periodontist’s or hygienists treatment plan diligently. This may include professional cleanings, scaling and root planning (deep cleaning), antibiotic therapy, or other interventions to manage the disease.


  • Quit Smoking/Vaping: Smoking is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease and can hinder your body’s ability to fight infection and heal damaged tissue. If you smoke, consider quitting to improve your oral health and overall well-being.


  • Manage Underlying Health Conditions: Certain health conditions, such as diabetes, can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease and may affect your body’s ability to heal. Work with your healthcare provider to manage any underlying health conditions and maintain optimal overall health.


  • Practice Stress Management: Stress can weaken your immune system and exacerbate inflammation, potentially worsening periodontal disease. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing, or hobbies that bring you joy.


By incorporating these tips into your oral health care routine, you can effectively manage periodontal disease and maintain a healthy smile for years to come. Remember to consult with your dentist or hygienist for personalized advice and treatment recommendations tailored to your individual needs.


Meet our Periodontal Team


Dr Vivek Giddani : BDS, Pg DipDCSc (U-Lon), LDSRCS (Eng), MFDSRCS (Ed), MCGDent, Pg DipPerio (U-Plym) GDC: 185505

Joanna Edwards:  Certificate of Proficiency in Dental Hygiene 1988

Jill Hetherington: Diploma in Dental Hygiene 2000

Kelly Gillard: BSc Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Peninsula Dental School 2018

Chloe Evans: BSCs (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Cardiff University 2021

Lucy Steward: BSCs (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy Cardiff University 2020

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