Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Southern California Family Dentistry

Southern California Family Dentistry - Whittier, Lake Forest, San Clemente - Periodontal Treatment

Studies indicate that individuals with diabetes face a higher risk of developing infections compared to those without diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes is recognized as the sixth complication associated with periodontitis.

Periodontal disease, known as periodontitis, is a progressive condition characterized by gum or jawbone recession, potentially leading to tooth loss. This disease poses risks beyond oral health as the toxins present in plaque can trigger severe health issues in different parts of the body. Inflammation of gum tissues causes irritation (gingivitis) and can result in bacterial infections, leading to damage of the underlying bone and gum tissue.

Diabetes is a significant condition associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, influenced by excessive glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. In Type II diabetes, the regulation of insulin is challenging, resulting in persistently elevated glucose levels in the blood. On the other hand, individuals with Type I diabetes do not produce insulin at all.

Experts propose that the link between diabetes and periodontal disease lies in the fact that each condition can exacerbate the other.

The connection between diabetes and periodontitis is multifaceted, especially when either condition is not properly managed. The correlation involves various factors such as elevated blood sugar, thickening of blood vessels, smoking, and inadequate oral hygiene practices. These elements contribute to the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

It's crucial for individuals with Type I or Type II diabetes to undergo biannual checkups and professional cleanings with a dentist. Studies demonstrate that non-surgical treatments for periodontal disease can lower the HbA1c (hemoglobin molecule blood test) count by up to 20%.

The diagnostic assessment involves reviewing the individual's medical and family history, along with dental X-rays to assess risks and accurately diagnose the condition of the gums, teeth, and lower jawbone. To ensure comprehensive care for both conditions, your dentist might collaborate with a physician to develop measures addressing gum disease and diabetes. This coordinated approach aims to manage both health concerns effectively.


The dentist might conduct root planing and deep scaling procedures to thoroughly clean debris from the pockets. Following this, a combination of antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes may be utilized to eliminate remaining bacteria and encourage pocket healing. Prior to initiating any treatment, the dentist and hygienist will advise on home care and oral maintenance practices. They may also prescribe specific mouthwashes to prevent bacterial growth and maintain oral health.

Please ask your dentist if you have questions or concerns about diabetes or periodontal disease.

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