Can Type 2 Diabetes Cause Gum Disease?

Dentist and patient are looking at x-rays


Can diabetes lead to gum disease, or is gum disease a contributor in the development of diabetes?  That question is up for debate among those in the medical community.  What is for sure is if you have gum disease or periodontal disease, you need to be checked by a dentist for Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes can cause gum disease

People with Type 2 Diabetes tend to have higher levels of gum disease, including periodontal disease, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath.

WebMD reports  a complication of diabetes is thickening of blood vessels, which may lead to an increased risk for gum disease.

Blood vessels deliver oxygen and nourishment to the body, including the mouth.

Blood flow and saliva wash away waste products from the mouth. Diabetes causes blood vessels to become thick.  This can slow the flow of nutrients to mouth tissue and prevent removal of toxic bacteria. This can allow gum and bone tissue to become susceptible to infection.

Did you know gum disease as a result of diabetes can lead to heart disease?


Gum Disease Symptoms

  • Gingivitis or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad Breath (Halitosis)
  • Plaque build up on your teeth and gums
  • Tartar build up
  • Salivary gland problems


 What to Do if You Have Diabetes?

If you have already been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you need to alert your dentist so they can note it in your chart, and monitor you for the following symptoms that contribute to gum disease, as people with diabetes have a higher chance of developing gum disease than people who do not have gum disease.

It is important to brush your teeth on a daily basis to remove plaque and bacteria, especially if you have Type 2 Diabetes.


What your dentist needs to look out for if you have Type 2 Diabetes?


man at dentist office

Your dentist needs to check your mouth for thrush.  This is an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth.

Diabetes can also lead to dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities.  This is a problem if enough saliva is not produced to washes away plaque, tartar and other forms of oral bacteria.

People with diabetes are susceptible to bone infections of the mouth.   This can lead to difficulty chewing and bone infection.  If not addressed, this can lead to your teeth eventually falling out.

Do you have trouble chewing?  You won’t produce enough saliva to first begin the digestion process, and to effectively remove the build up of plaque, tartar and other forms of oral bacteria.

If you don’t have a dentist, you should look for an affordable dental plan so you can keep your teeth and gums healthy, since poor oral health can lead to other health problems.


Need to Control High Glucose Levels

People with diabetes need control their glucose levels, in an effort to prevent oral health issues.

When glucose is not controlled, this can allow bacteria to grow undeterred in your mouth leading to a host oral diseases and even other health related conditions, such as heart disease.


Risk of Oral Surgery

You must alert your dentist or oral surgeon if you have diabetes and if your diabetes is controlled or uncontrolled before under going any type of oral surgery.  People who have diabetes generally take longer to recover from surgery, due to lack of sufficient blood flow to the affected site to promote quick healing.


Importance of Good Oral Health if you have diabetes?

brush teeth

If you have diabetes, good oral health is critical for good overall health.  You need to make sure to brush twice a day, and floss at least once a day.  Rinse your mouth daily with a dental rinse if you have dry mouth, to remove the build up of bacteria that is hard to reach or missed during normal teeth brushing.

Make sure to control your glucose levels, which is the key to promoting good oral health,  if you have diabetes.

You should brush with an electric toothbrush, which is more gentle on your teeth and gums rather than a manual toothbrush, generally does a better job at removing plaque, tartar and bacteria, and has a timer which ensures you brush for the recommended time of two minutes.


Can Poor Dental Care Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

Gum disease and Type 2 Diabetes

It is important to ensure you practice good dental care to prevent Type 2 Diabetes.  People with poor oral hygiene are more likely to have oral health issues, such as cavities, build up of bacteria in the mouth, tartar or plaque on their teeth and gums.  This can lead to bleeding gums, or receding gum line.

These two poor oral hygiene practices can allow toxic bacteria to enter the blood stream.  This can eventually lead to heart disease or Type 2 Diabetes.  The best way to prevent this is to practice good oral hygiene.





  1. Ken 06/01/2012
Men's Health Cures
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