Diabetes and Gum Disease

Did you know that over 26 million Americans have diabetes?  This is important to dental professionals because this equates to approximately 10% of the population. That segment of our patients is at a greatly increased risk of developing gum disease. There are two main types of diabetes.  Type I Diabetes results from the pancreas no longer producing insulin.  Type II Diabetes results from the body’s inability to uptake insulin properly.  Both types of diabetes can increase the risk of developing gum disease.

Gum disease is an infection of the gums, bone, and supporting structures of the teeth.  When harmful bacteria, in the mouth, begin to aggressively invade the surrounding tissues of the teeth, the gums become inflamed and pull away from the teeth.  This eventually leads to bone loss around the teeth.


There is a very important connection between diabetes and gum disease.  Diabetes increases the risk of developing gum disease and gum disease can make diabetes worse.  Because it goes both ways, it’s important for your Golden, CO Dentist to look for signs of diabetes so we can educate patients on the connection, as well as what they can do about it.


  1. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease because uncontrolled diabetes suppresses the immune system.  When the immune system is suppressed, the body cannot properly fight off the infection of the gums and supporting structures.
  2. Gum disease can make diabetes worse because chronic infection in the body increases blood sugar levels.

As you can see, the connection between gum disease and diabetes, if left untreated, can become a vicious downward cycle.


–       Red, puffy bleeding gums

–       Thrush of the mouth

–       Fruity/acetone breath

–       Taste alteration

–        Burning sensation in the mouth

–       Dry mouth

–       Mouth ulcers

Both diabetes and gum disease need to be treated!