Diabetes is becoming more and more common among Americans. Currently over 100 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Additionally, one in four doesn’t even know they have it.
Emotions can range from denial to anger for someone who has been diagnosed, but it’s important to remember that although diabetes isn’t a good thing, it is manageable. Managing your diabetes will help your overall well-being, and it will help keep your mouth in tip-top shape. To help you understand how good oral health could influence your diabetes and vice-versa, we have compiled a few questions and answers about gum disease and diabetes.
1. Does diabetes change the health of the gums?
Studies have found that many people with diabetes also have gum disease. Additionally, gum disease in those with diabetes is often worse than gum disease in those without it. Therefore, it would seem diabetes has some influence on the health of the gums. This makes it extra important to floss every day.
People with poorly controlled diabetes have too much sugar in the blood most of the time. Most studies found that people who controlled their disease had less gum disease than those who did not.
2. Does having healthy gums change diabetes? If gum disease is treated, does this change the amount of sugar in the blood?
Most studies found that the amount of long-term blood sugar was lower after gum treatment. This means that treating gum disease seems to help diabetes become better controlled.
3. Can gum disease make people get diabetes?
A large study showed that people with gum disease have a much greater chance—up to two times greater— of getting type 2 diabetes than people with healthy gums.
As you can see, the importance of tending to your oral health while treating your diabetes is very clear. (Not to mention it’s good for your mouth too!)
The research for this Report was generously supported with funding from Delta Dental Plans Association and performed by the University of Michigan by George W. Taylor, Wenche S. Borgnakke, Patricia F. Anderson, and M. Carol Shannon. ©DDPA 2009.
*Updated Dec 2019