Gum disease is a lesser known complication of diabetes
Gum disease is a lesser known complication of diabetes

Periodontitis is relatively common and can develop more quickly if oral hygiene is maintained and/or blood glucose levels run too high for long periods of time.

Periodontitis is gum infection that can be serious if not treated.

What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

The following are signs of periodontitis:

  • Red or purple coloured gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gum line
  • Gaps developing between the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus around the gum line (gum abscesses)
  • Bad breath

What causes periodontitis?

Periodontitis is caused by bacterial growth around the teeth and gums. Periodontitis may result from a number of factors, including poor diabetes control, infrequent cleaning of teeth and smoking.

However, other factors may also play a part such as viral infections, some medications (including some blood pressure drugs) or the presence of conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV or Addison’s disease.

How is periodontital disease treated?

As with other forms of gum disease, cleaning your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once and day and keeping blood glucose levels under control is highly recommended.

Other treatments may also be recommended to keep bacteria and plaque from building up. Antiseptic mouthwash can help to reduce bacteria and plaque.

Your dentist can advise which mouthwash will be most suitable for you. Scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar.

Your dentist or dental hygienist will use a hand tool to remove any build ups of plaque or tartar and then polish the teeth.

Root planing may be carried out if the gums have started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have tartar deposits on them.

Root planing helps to remove bacteria from the roots of the teeth. Root planing may involve some after the procedure and you may be given anaesthetic before the treatment.

Surgical treatments for periodontitis

In more severe periodontal disease, surgery may be required. Gingivectomy is a process in which some of the gum tissue is removed.

Gingival grafts are when tissue is removed from the roof of your mouth and grafted onto your gums to cover an area where the roots of teeth are exposed.

Explore Periodontitis
Join the Diabetes Newsletter