The Link Between Diabetes & Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone structures that support natural teeth. Even though the signs of gum disease may resemble other medical conditions, the most common symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums

  • Seeing blood when brushing

  • Receding gums that expose sensitive tooth root areas

  • Pus pockets on gum tissues

  • Persistent bad breath

The bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in diseased tissues. This allows the infectious bacteria to travel throughout the body, which can cause inflammatory triggers that can lead to serious health problems.

In addition to diabetes, gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, some cancers, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and erectile dysfunction (ED). Obviously, oral bacteria is no small matter.

Diabetes, a disease that results from insufficient production of insulin in the body, means the body cannot properly process carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The most common types are Type 1 (which requires insulin control) and Type 2 (not insulin dependent).

Because of blood vessel changes that occur with diabetes, the efficiency of the flow of nutrients and removal of wastes from body tissues can be compromised. This can weaken the gums and bone, leaving them susceptible to infection.

This is where the correlation between periodontal disease and diabetes is found. When it comes to gum disease and diabetes, research has shown that one can trigger the other.Microscope

Poor blood sugar control decreases the ability of the immune system to fight infections. When glucose levels are not properly controlled, diabetics experience higher growth of oral bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease. Similarly, uncontrolled gum disease can make it more difficult to control diabetes.

Diabetes initially emerges in the form of oral problems with early Type 2 signs including bad breath and bleeding gums. These are also symptoms of periodontal disease. Studies have shown that preventing gum disease supports diabetics in properly controlling glucose levels.

For diabetics who also smoke, they have an even greater risk for gum disease than a person who does not have diabetes.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health describes diabetes as “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.” Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims diabetes has risen to a pandemic level with the number of diabetics predicted to triple over the next ten years.

If you’re diabetic, it is strongly advised to have dental checkups every 3-4 months to avoid the inflammatory reactions of gum disease, and subsequent repercussions. Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.

After a thorough examination, we can determine if gum disease exists. Call 910-254-4555 to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Remember, gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in greater treatment time and expense.

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