When it comes to severe periodontal disease, patients with diabetes are a heightened risk for developing serious infections and experiencing detrimental gum tissue and bone density reduction. It’s important to make sure your dentist knows about your condition so we can take special care during your twice annual dental exams and cleanings. It may even be recommended you see the dentist more often for cleanings to reduce the chance of oral complications.
Diabetes and Gum Health
Patients who suffer from gum disease know the difficulties they face when it comes to avoiding and fighting infection. Gum disease is one form of infection that diabetes sufferers should be acutely aware of in order to protect their dental and overall health. Periodontal (gum) disease occurs when plaque (a sticky film of bacteria and sugar) adheres to the teeth at and below the gum line. This acidic film irritates soft tissue causing a mild form of periodontal disease known as gingivitis. Left untreated, irritated gums develop sores, and these sores become infected. This is a more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. Because diabetes impedes the body’s natural healing process, diabetics who suffer from periodontitis are more likely than non-diabetic suffers to experience tooth loss, jawbone density degradation, and serious health risks such as blood clots and heart disease.
The research is inconclusive on whether diabetes causes gum disease, but there is an undeniable link between the two chronic illnesses. One possible causal relationship pointed to by recent studies is dry mouth. A side effect of many diabetes medications and diabetes itself, dry mouth allows more bacterial growth since saliva is the body’s natural bacteria neutralizer. Insulin resistance and gum disease have also been linked since the body’s ability to breakdown and properly utilize key nutrients begins in the mouth. Increased levels of sugar in the body raise the acidity of bacteria in the mouth, and thus, make it more difficult for saliva to neutralize the acidic plaque.
Tips for Diabetics with Gum Disease
- Control blood glucose levels – the best way to ensure oral health is to improve overall wellbeing by getting blood glucose levels under control which allows the body to effectively heal damaged gum tissue.
- Floss and brush daily – outstanding oral health care is essential. Keep teeth clean and free of excess sugars. Consider brushing or using a sugar-free, antimicrobial rinse between meals.
- Visit the dentist regularly – your dentist recommends twice annual dental cleanings and exams for most patients, but diabetics who have or have had gum disease may want to consider more frequent visits.
- Give up the sugary drinks and foods – as a diabetic this is likely already part of your routine, but many diabetics still drink diet carbonated beverages. While the artificial sugars in these drinks may not affect blood glucose, they can still be harmful to oral health.
- Keep dentists and physicians informed – communicate any changes you’ve encountered in your blood glucose level to your dentist and any gum disease concerns to your physician.
- Pay close attention to your bite – if you notice that your gums look larger or smaller or that your teeth feel loose, these could be indicators of gum disease. Visit your dentist in Los Angeles immediately. For denture wearers, take notice if your denture or partial feels loose or uncomfortable, or if attaching your prosthetic is painful.
Need Treatment for Gum Disease?
Geller Dentistry offers outstanding treatment for gum disease in Los Angeles. Patients with diabetes are at increased risk for detrimental dental health effects associated with gum disease, but our superior dental practice offers the care patients with diabetes need to maintain gum health. Call to schedule an appointment today.