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Periodontics Supporting Your Practice

Diabetes Awareness Month: Diabetes and Oral Health

According to latest figures from Diabetes Canada, the prevalence of diabetes in Canada is estimated at 3.4 million people, or 9.3% of the population, and this figure is rising. This means that the average general dentist is likely to come across this condition and its associated impact on periodontal health on a weekly basis.

In this short video, Dr. Aditya Patel, periodontist from Halifax, and President-Elect of the Canadian Academy of Periodontology, discusses the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease and offers advice on how to recognize it in the practice. He also shares some of the latest research on the connection between diabetes and oral health.

“The association between diabetes and periodontal disease is strong which is why it is important that we recognize both diabetes and periodontal disease in our practice.” Dr. Aditya Patel, President-Elect, Canadian Academy of Periodontology

Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation:


  • The incidences of both diabetes and periodontal disease are rising. Seven out of 10 Canadians will have some form of periodontal disease in their lifetime.
  • Diabetes and periodontitis are co-related, meaning that there is a strong association between the two conditions, although there is no causation. A patient who is diabetic will not necessarily have periodontal disease, but there is an increased risk and an increased prevalence of periodontal disease among diabetics.
  • Because of this co-relationship, the two conditions impact each other. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes incur severe attachment loss, which manifests as gingival recession. Other signs include xerostomia and an increased degree of gingivitis due to the possible impact of the local immune system.
  • Research studies show that diabetic patients have an increased level of cytokines/inflammatory mediators in the mouth which cause an increased amount of periodontal disease.


  • Common signs that may prime the dentist to consider the presence of a systemic condition include:
    • weakness or fatigue
    • excessive thirst
    • shortness of breath
    • xerostomia (without medication)
    • frequency of infections, specifically gingival abscesses (often multiple sites of infection).
    • slow or delayed healing following surgery.
  • Thorough periodontal charting is key and can help guide us towards a reduced response from the immune system.


We hope you find the conversation useful. We welcome your thoughts, questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email.

Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team

Watch the Full Conversation (10'40")


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