Diabetes and Gum Diseases

We are often asked if there is any connection between gum diseases and diabetes. We hope to answer that question in this blog. Diabetes and periodontal diseases are both very common diseases in the USA. As per CDC more than 34 million people in the US suffer from diabetes and 88 million are pre diabetic. 47.2% adults over the age of 30 suffer from some or the other form of periodontitis. These are alarming figures.  

Relationship between diabetes and periodontitis 

Research suggests people with diabetes are more likely to get gum diseases than people who do not have diabetes. Studies have found that this relationship between diabetes and periodontal diseases goes both ways. Not only are people who have diabetes more likely to develop gum diseases but people who are prone to gum diseases are more likely to be detected with diabetes at a later stage in their lives. Severe gum diseases can also lead to increase in the blood sugar. This puts people who already have diabetes at an increased risk for diabetic complications. 

Given this relationship is important to understand the how diabetes and periodontal diseases affect each other. Both periodontitis and diabetes are chronic diseases and do not develop overnight. Oral health assumes more significance if one is prone to diabetes and vice versa. 

What can I do to take care? 

Gum care is an important aspect of oral hygiene for everyone. If a person who is not diabetic suffers from mild to severe gum diseases then they must get their blood sugar levels checked regularly and maintain healthy diet and exercise to prevent early onset of the disease. After all diabetes is not just a genetic but a lifestyle disease also. 

Whether you are diabetic or not you must – 

  1. Brush your teeth gently twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 
  1. Floss daily. Use either a dental string floss or a water flosser. 
  1. Use a anti bacterial mouthwash. 

If you are not diabetic – 

  1. Visit your dentist every six months. 
  1. Do a self mouth check and look out for the following – 
  • a sore, or an ulcer, that does not heal 
  • pain in the mouth, face, or jaw that doesn’t go away 
  • loose teeth 
  • pain when chewing 
  • a bad taste in the mouth 
  • bad breath that refuses to go away despite brushing teeth and using a mouthwash 
  • Red or swollen gums 
  • Bleeding gums 
  • Dry mouth is often a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes 

If you notice any changes in your teeth or mouth make sure you visit your dentist as soon as possible. The reason is early stages of gum disease are mostly painless and the symptoms more easily missed. It is important to tell at this time that during the early stages of gum disease which is also known as gingivitis it is fully reversible provided it is detected in time. 

  1. Regulate your diet and do regular exercise. 
  1. Keep monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis. 

However if you are pre diabetic or suffer from diabetes then they you must take extra care of your gums – 

  1. Visit your dentists for regular checkups – Ideally once in 6 months is a good frequency for a person who does not suffer from diabetes. But if you are diabetic you must visit more frequently. Consult your dentist about how frequently you must visit his/ her dental office. 
  1. Besides regular checkups ensure special gum checkups from a dental hygienist who can specifically look out for gum diseases.  
  1. Regulate your diet and do regular exercise to keep your sugar in control. Keep monitoring your blood sugar level on a regular basis. Let your dentist know about your sugar levels, HbA1c (the lab test which shows average blood sugar level of last 3 months) and other pathological reports before going for a visit. Take your medicine or insulin as usual before the dental office visit. 
  1. Quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking along with diabetes is a dangerous combination and make a person more prone to heart diseases, strokes and nerve and kidney problems. 

Diabetes can also cause other oral problems. These include: 

  • Thrush – It is a fungal infection of the mouth. Thrush is found more often in people who are suffering from diabetes because of high blood sugar in the saliva. Fungus feeds on the sugar. 
  • Burning feeling in the mouth – If blood sugar is not controlled it can cause a burning feeling in your mouth. 

Studies have shown that treatment of gum disease can help improve blood sugar levels. Control of diabetes in turn helps decrease the progress of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene in addition to having professional deep cleanings can help to lower your HbA1c. 

Now that you know how closely diabetes and periodontal diseases are interlinked you are better informed to take care of your health. Take care of your oral and overall health. You now know that taking care of oral health with diabetes is critical but not too difficult. A few simple things if added to your daily oral hygiene routine can go a long way in ensuring a better quality of life for you to enjoy for a long time. 

If you would like to know more call Ensure Dental Care (the family dentist near you) on 940-274-3229 to schedule an appointment. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers. We also have in house payment plan. We have a very experienced team of dental practitioners and we look forward to serving you the best of our abilities.  

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