Most people are unaware that there is a link between periodontal diseases and diabetes. The link between the two is not so obvious, given that one is a condition that is associated with blood sugar while the other relates to gums and teeth. In reality, the two are very closely linked and we will show you exactly how.
Understanding Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease refers to the infection of gum tissue and bones in the mouth. Periodontal disease leads to bleeding in the gums, pain when the infected patient chews food and in advanced stages, the complete loss of teeth. Typically, periodontal disease occurs due to poor oral hygiene practices such as not regularly brushing teeth. At this stage, it is impossible to control the problem through brushing alone and it takes a specialist to help clear the problem.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious condition that is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, a hormone that helps regulate glucose in the blood. People suffering from diabetes are prone to develop other serious conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure among others. Diabetes is typically managed with drugs that stimulate insulin production or with direct insulin injections where the body is totally unable to produce insulin.
Link Between Periodontal Disease And Diabetes
It has long been established that people with diabetes have a greater chance of developing periodontal disease than people who do not have the condition. Part of the reason why this happens is that high glucose levels that are typical in people with diabetes make it easy for bacteria to grow and reproduce in the mouth. This then places diabetics at a higher risk of gum disease than other people. The relationship, however, is a little more complicated than that. The reverse also applies in that gum infections also make it harder for the body to regulate blood sugar meaning that people with periodontal disease are likely to see their blood sugar spike and become more difficult to control.
If you are a diabetic, it helps to understand this linkage because it enables you to take measures to protect yourself. Diabetics have to take special care to ensure that they maintain the strictest oral hygiene possible. This means not just regular brushing of teeth but also regular dental exams and reducing the amount of sugar that one consumes in order to make it harder for bacteria to thrive. People who are living with diabetes must also learn to recognize symptoms of gum disease (which goes on to become periodontal disease) and to seek treatment as soon as these appear. Symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums (most people notice this when brushing teeth), swollen/ red gum tissue and pain when chewing. Having a highly experienced dentist who specializes in gum disease on call is useful for people with diabetes. If you are a diabetic in New York and would like an assessment of your risk for gum disease, call Dr. Alex Rubinov at (718) 253-0800 for an appointment and a dental exam.