What’s the link between diabetes and gum disease? Well, it turns out that people with diabetes are particularly prone to developing gum disease. Periodontal disease (including gum disease) occurs when plaque bacteria build up below the gum line, infect the gums and damage the bone that supports the teeth. The symptoms of gum disease include redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums, and it can lead to tooth loss, if left untreated.
Diabetics are more prone to gum disease for several reasons. First, diabetics tend to have greater levels of sugar in their mouths, and this provides a food source of mouth bacteria. Reduced salivary flow, which may result from taking medications, also reduces the natural washing of sugars out of the mouth. Second, diabetics that have difficulty controlling their blood glucose may have greater difficulty healing wounds and fighting infections, generally, and this includes bacterial infections in the mouth. Continuous infection in the mouth can make it more challenging to control levels of blood glucose, setting up a vicious cycle where on-going bacterial infection in the mouth leads to changeable blood glucose levels, which leads to greater likelihood of on-going infections.
If you are have diabetes, it is especially important to see your Victoria dentist regularly for thorough cleanings twice yearly to help prevent gum disease. Your dentist can check the health of your gums and advise you on the best methods to keep your teeth and gums healthy at home with a toothbrush and dental floss between visits. Discussing your medical history and your diabetes with your dentist will help the dental team to take any precautions necessary. Any periodontal infection should be treated before significant dental work is performed. For more information or to discuss your concerns related to diabetes and gum disease, come and see us at Broad Street Dental Centre.