The Connection Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Studies are on-going to understand the correlation for patients suffering from diabetes and how this might affect their dental health. What is known is that gum disease is more prevalent in patients with diabetes than those free from it. A thorough dental exam with a periodontist is highly recommended for patients dealing with symptoms of gum disease such as bleeding or swollen gum tissue, loose teeth or a sore in the mouth that will not heal. And for diabetics with these symptoms, there is urgency in getting this exam done immediately.

There are many serious consequences for ignoring symptoms of gum disease. Among them is the likelihood of tooth loss due to infection and bone loss. But research is pointing to periodontitis as a contributing factor in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even low birth weight babies.

Gum disease can start out simply due to poor oral hygiene habits, a diet deprived of proper vitamins and nutrients, smoking and tobacco use, or improper rest. Stress can also contribute to the onset of gum disease. But when those early symptoms are allowed to fester, the more serious periodontitis can develop. This disease is basically an inflammation of the gum tissue around the tooth.

Plaque build-up can lead to gum disease, and is largely due to poor oral hygiene care. Plaque is the sticky substance that clings to teeth, and when allowed to remain on the teeth, plaque hardens usually around the base of the tooth near the gum line. Daily brushing and flossing aids in preventing plaque build-up, but seeing your dental provider twice per year for a professional cleaning and exam will remove the plaque that has hardened on your teeth that your toothbrush and floss could not remove.

Controlling blood sugar becomes more difficult when afflicted with periodontitis. In severe cases, blood sugar can increase contributing to increased periods of time when your body must deal with elevated levels of blood sugar. This puts you at risk for diabetic complications. Therefore, controlling gum disease can be a useful tool in managing your diabetes.

Seeing your periodontist for an accurate assessment of your periodontal condition can be the most rewarding appointment you can keep, as maintaining healthy teeth and gums can contribute to improvement in your overall good health as well as helping to manage a diabetic condition.

To learn more and to schedule your professional consultation, contact the Dallas office of Dr. Brad Crump at 214-443-0876.


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