During the past 10 years, a lot of research has been undertaken on the link between diabetes and periodontal disease. We have learned that periodontal disease is the sixth leading complication of diabetes.
This means that if you have diabetes, you are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop periodontal disease, with a higher rate of more severe levels of bone loss and gum infection.
Ouch! And it’s an ‘ouch’ to your dental health, overall health, and pocketbook.
This is why EK Dental Surgery believes it is important or our patients to know about diabetes, periodontal disease, and how they interact.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other foods into energy. When you have diabetes, your body has difficulty making and/or using insulin, and your blood sugar stays too high.
This is bad news, because high blood sugar causes other processes that can lead to complications, such as heart, kidney, eye disease, and other problems.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, more often called gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments, and bone that support your teeth and hold them in the jaw. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, microbial film that is constantly forming on your teeth.
Diabetes Control And Periodontal Treatment
Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for you to control your blood sugar. Your body’s reaction to periodontal disease can increase your blood sugar level. Therefore, it is critical for diabetics to manage and eliminate periodontal infection as part of controlling their diabetes.
Warning Signs Of Diabetes
Warning signs include:
- Constant hunger or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Constant fatigue
- Weight loss without trying
- Poor wound healing (cuts or bruises that are slow to heal)
- Dry mouth
- Itchy, dry skin
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Warning Signs Of Periodontal Disease
- Red and swollen gums that bleed and are tender to the touch
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth, exposing the roots
- Milky white or yellowish plaque deposits, which are usually heaviest between the teeth
- Pus between the teeth and gums accompanied by tenderness or swelling in the gum area
- A consistent foul, offensive odor from the mouth
Diabetes And Your Mouth
Unfortunately, periodontal disease is not the only problem that diabetes can cause.
- Dry mouth: Xerostomia occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce sufficient saliva to keep your mouth moist, causing tissues in your mouth to become inflamed and sore.
- Fungal infection: If you have diabetes, deficient saliva in your mouth and extra sugar in your saliva can allow fungus to cause an infection called candidiasis (thrush), which appears as sore white or red areas in your mouth.
- Burning mouth syndrome: If you feel severe burning and pain in your mouth even though you don’t see any problems causing it, you may have this syndrome.
- Oral surgery complications: If you need oral surgery, diabetes— particularly if poorly controlled—can complicate oral surgery. Diabetes retards healing and increases risk of infection. Your blood sugar levels also may be harder to control after oral surgery.
What You Can Do
- Make sure you brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse twice a day to help curb bacteria.
- Check your mouth for inflammation or bleeding gums. If you notice either, let your dentist know as soon as possible.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, or even every 3 or 4 months if your dentist recommends.
- Make sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes. Give her the names of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take.
- Make sure your diabetes is well controlled.
Working Together, We Can Control Both Problems
It is important that your EK Dental Surgery dentist be kept up-to-date on your diabetes and its treatment, and your physician should similarly be kept up-to-date on your oral status and treatments. Then, they can work together to help you control your diabetes and prevent or control periodontal disease.
At EK Dental Surgery, we are experts in all aspects of dental treatment, including dental treatment of patients with diabetes!
Reasons To Smile At EK Dental Surgery!
EK Dental Surgery offers a wide range of preventative and cosmetic dental procedures for children, seniors, and everyone in between!
Your efficient dentists at EK Dental Surgery are conveniently located on Springvale Road in Glen Waverley.