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Gum disease and diabetes


Learning that you are diabetic raises questions and implications about your overall health, as well as the impact this may have on your day-to-day life. Being diabetic does mean that health risks are greater, however, through diet, exercise, and a regime, living with diabetes is manageable. What many of us forget about when caring for our health, is considering our oral health. Our Oral health can have adverse effects to our overall health, and can also increase our health risks, especially when having diabetes. Here is a look at what happens to our bodies when we have diabetes and the effects this has on our oral health as well as overall health.

diabetes and oral health


When we eat, our bodies break down food and turn it into sugar or glucose to use as energy. Insulin, a hormone made from an organ in the body called the pancreas, allows  glucose to transfer into the body’s cells to be used as energy. Insulin sometimes referred to as ‘the key’  prevents your blood sugar from getting too high or too low, through transferring as well as storing energy in the body.

TYPE 1 DIABETESThis is where our immune system attacks and destroys the insulin produced in the pancreas.

TYPE 2 DIABETESType  2 is much more common than Type 1 diabetes. This is where a person has a resistance to insulin, meaning they do not produce enough insulin or the body does no react properly to this hormone in the body.

With a resistance to insulin or without insulin altogether, our bodies cannot regulate or manage our sugar or glucose levels which we need to produce energy.



Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, therefore, there is a risk of gingivitis and periodontitis, which are both forms of gum disease. Gum disease not only affects your oral health but also can have an adverse affect on your overall health as well.


Food and bacteria can form around the teeth when not properly cleaned. This causes plaque and tartar to build around the teeth as well as surrounding the gum line. Bacteria can cause inflammation to the gums, which is called gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Symptoms include red, swollen and or bleeding gums, this form of gum disease is easily treatable.


Gingivitis if not treated, can lead to periodontitis, which is a more severe case of gum disease. If plaque and tartar build, pockets form around the teeth which are filled with bacteria, this causes infection as well as gum recession. The body’s immune system will naturally fight infection, however in order to rid the body of infection, tissue is destroyed causing teeth to loosen, and gums cannot regrow. In severe cases, as well as tissue damage there can be damage to the bone. Depending on severity, you could suffer tooth loss as well as necessary extraction(s), this is treatable and aesthetic restorative treatments are available such as dental implant treatment.

Oral health is paramount to your overall health, gum disease is an infection, and when the body starts fighting this infection, your blood glucose levels can also increase. This can have an adverse affect on managing your diabetes.

 New research suggests that bacteria can enter the bloodstream through these periodontal pockets. This can lead to other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes increases your risk of gum disease, however, both gum disease and diabetes increase health risks. 



Looking after your oral health is extremely beneficial to managing your diabetes.

Oral health

Following a daily oral health routine, through brushing, flossing and mouthwash will enable you to battle against bacteria. This will clean, reduce, and prevent plaque and tarter build up where bacteria lay. It is also advisable that you visit a dentist regularly, this allows a professional to evaluate your oral health, as well as give you help and advice on maintaining good oral hygiene. Improving your oral health will improve your overall health, this will, in turn, help lower your health risks, especially when this is heightened due to diabetes.

Check out some of our articles on maintaining good oral health

Flossing tips that matter!

Why you should I see a Hygienist





Brighton Implant Clinic

Information provided to you by the Brighton Implant clinic & advanced dentistry.

The Brighton Implant Clinic was established in 2009, Hove, East Sussex. The award – winning clinic now spans over four sites in Hove,  Brighton, Worthing, and Hailsham. Founder and principal dentist Dr Bruno Silva has created a clinic with state of the art facilities and equipment including its own dental laboratory. We provide personalised and affordable dental care, including dental implants and cosmetic dentistry solutions, with additional services such as sedative dentistry. Dr Silva advocates continuous professional development and this is why he has a highly skilled team of dentist, surgeons, and dental nurses. Our welcoming and professional team believe smiling is fundamental, find out how this could change you.

Dr. Bruno Silva
Founder and Principal Dentist, Brighton Implant Clinic.