Do you know that there is a link between gum disease and diabetes? Diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease compared to non-diabetics and the relationship appears to go both ways.
Research indicates that having a serious gum infection can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. This means that taking care of your mouth, which is always important, takes on special added importance for diabetes sufferers.
At Smiles Nambour, we want all our patients and readers to be aware of the link between the two diseases, symptoms to look for, and strategies to control them.
What Causes the Increased Gum Disease Risk?
What does high blood glucose have to do with oral health? For people with diabetes it is more difficult to defend against bacterial infections. High glucose levels make it easier for bacteria to take root in your mouth.
This can lead to gum disease, an inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection. The germs in plaque infect the teeth and gums, leading to the first stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis. If untreated, gingivitis can lead to tissue damage and eventual tooth loss. The more serious stages of gum disease are known as periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.
How Does Periodontitis Affect Diabetes?
The interaction between gum disease and diabetes becomes even more important when you consider the effects an infection can have on blood glucose levels. Having a serious infection can contribute to rising blood sugar levels. So not only does diabetes make it harder to fight infections, but in turn gum disease also makes diabetes harder to control.
How Can You Tell If You Have Gum Disease?
Signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss. Bleeding is not normal. Even if your gums don’t hurt, get them checked.
- Red, swollen, or tender gums.
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth. Part of the tooth’s root may show, or your teeth may look longer.
- Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums).
- Bad breath.
- Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other.
- Changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite.
Other Oral Issues Related To Diabetes
Diabetes can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. But diabetes can also cause serious problems in your mouth.
People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place.
Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss. Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Smoking makes these problems worse.
What Can You Do At Home?
If you have diabetes, try to keep your blood glucose levels down. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and healthy lifestyle habits can help to manage this disease. Also, talk to your dentist about your health and any medications that you are taking.
While these two conditions often make each other more difficult to control, there is still plenty you can do to prevent and manage both diabetes and gum disease.
Along with getting your diabetes under control, caring for your teeth at home is an important part of your dental treatment. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for about two or three minutes each time. Use a toothbrush with a built-in tongue cleaner. A lot of the bacteria found in your mouth are actually on your tongue, so cleaning it along with your teeth is a must.
Remember to floss daily, using an 18-inch piece of floss and wrapping it in a C-shape around each tooth to remove plaque biofilm from your teeth is so important. Talk to your dental professional about eating a nutritious diet including foods like fresh veggies and whole grains to nourish your teeth and gums and to help control blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Detection By Your Dentist?
Regular trips to Smiles Nambour may be the best way to learn if you have diabetes. Dentists are often the first to see signs of a disease because many people don’t go to the doctor when they believe they’re healthy.
The dentist’s role in detecting diabetes is an example of how good oral health can improve your overall health.
Dentistry at Smiles Nambour
If a member of your family needs special care due to diabetes or any other health issue, Smiles Nambour is the perfect choice for you. At Smiles Nambour we offer treatment for the full range of dental health issues.
At Smiles Nambour, we provide top-quality dentistry with the help of cutting-edge instruments and caring staff!
A visit to Smiles Nambour is an investment in your dental health and attractive smile!