Periodontitis is chronic inflammatory disease of the mouth that involves the gingiva (gum tissues), teeth, and supporting bone. If periodontitis is left untreated, the involved teeth will exfoliate. The clinical signs of periodontitis include swelling, redness and bleeding from the gums, spacing between teeth, loose teeth, and exposure of root surfaces through loss of bone around the teeth. The disease can present locally, involving a few teeth, or be more generalized.In patients with a systemic disease such as diabetes, the disease is often more generalized. 

Diabetes mellitus is an established risk factor for Periodontitis. People with diabetes are 3 times more likely to have severe bone loss around their teeth than people without diabetes. Oral manifestations of diabetes mellitus are: ·     

  • Enlarged and severely inflamed gum tissues   
  • Evidence of loss of tooth support that is often seen as spreading of teeth resulting in open spaces between the teeth (diastemas)
  • Gingival polyp
  • Multiple gingival abscesses   
  • Loosened teeth
  • Cheilosis
  • Diminished salivary flow   
  • Mucosal drying and cracking     
  • Burning mouth and tongue     
  • Increased rate of dental caries
  • Fissured tongue
  • Oral fungal infections
  • Enlargement of parotid gland
  • Alterations in flora of oral cavity

Relationship between Diabetes mellitus and gum diseases is mutual. It has been seen that Periodontitis can adversely affect glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus and contribute to the development of its complications. Periodontal therapy seems to result in a modest improvement of glycemic control in patients with diabetes mellitus.

It would be advantageous if blood glucose assessments were performed in dental offices for patients at risk for type 2 diabetes.