The link between the control of diabetes and your oral health.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Its links to heart disease and stroke have been well-publicized. But did you know it’s also linked to diabetes? That means every time you pick up your toothbrush or wind that floss around your fingers, you’re saving a whole lot more than just your smile.
The Link between Diabetes and Gum Disease
Studies show that people with insufficient blood sugar control seem to develop gum disease more frequently and severely that those who have good management over their diabetes. The disease slows circulation and reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which puts those struggling with it at greater risk for periodontal infections. On top of that, high glucose levels in saliva promote growth of bacteria that contribute to gum problems. In fact, those diabetics who are also smokers are far more likely to struggle with all types of mouth disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Whether you’re diabetic or not, it’s important to know the symptoms of gum disease. Here’s a partial list:
- Swollen gums that tend to bleed easily
- Gums separating from teeth
- Loose teeth
- Frequent bad breath
- A change in the way teeth fit together, or the way partials or dentures fit
How to Prevent Periodontal Infection
Want to know how to prevent gum disease, particularly as a diabetic? Here are some tips:
- Maintain control over your blood sugar levels
- If you smoke, kick the habit
- Stick with your regular dental check-up and cleaning schedule
- Brush and floss every day
- Eat a healthy diet
A Final Word
If you’re managing diabetes, be sure to mention it during your next appointment so your dentist can check for any signs of early gum disease. If diagnosed in the early stages (gingivitis), it can be treated and reversed. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage (periodontitis) may follow, which includes irreversible bone loss.