Over time, it has become clear that there is a clear connection between a person having diabetes, and that same person also developing infections more frequently. When diabetes is not treated effectively, periodontal disease can often occur.
Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, can eventually lead to tooth loss if it is not treated quickly enough, and all starts from a simple bacterial infection within the gums of the patient. The bacteria consumes the gum tissue leaving little pockets of space where even more bacteria can grow, and this develops into the gums receding, until even the bone is attacked too.
People with diabetes will have too much sugar in their body, and if not treated properly then both Type I and Type II diabetes can lead to heart problems, and other complications such as strokes.
Why There Is A Connection
Although it may seem strange that these two health concerns are linked, it is mainly because they can both spiral out of control if they are not managed properly. Other reasons why the two health issues are linked include:
- Blood sugar increase: because gum disease is bacteria feeding on sugar, those with diabetes will already be struggling to remove the sugar from their bloodstream and so will have much higher levels of it than other people, giving the bacteria even more food to consume, making their gum disease worse.
- Thickening of blood vessels: people with diabetes will often find that their blood vessels will thicken, making it more difficult for the blood vessels in our mouths to take away the harmful waste such as plaque that builds up in our mouth, giving more food to periodontitis and more time for it to develop.
- Smoking: as well as slowing the healing process within our mouths, smoking combined with diabetes means that a person will be even more likely to develop gum disease because the body’s natural defences are hit from all sides.
- Bad oral hygiene: the best thing that someone with diabetes can do is to keep excellent oral hygiene, because then that means that they take all of that harmful sugar away from their teeth and gums before it can do any harm.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Seeing their dentist at least two times a year, if not more, is one of the best ways that someone who has diabetes can make sure that they keep periodontitis at bay. Having professional cleaning from their dentist will help lower the sugar count by a fifth according to most experts.
As well as using the standard x-rays and visual exams of your mouth and gums to determine exactly what is happening in your teeth, a dentist will also talk to you about your medical history and your family’s medical history in order to understand whether you are at risk of developing diabetes.
There are options such as deep scaling, which is another term for a deep clean of your teeth, which a dentist can do in order to remove the tartar from teeth and gum lines. In more severe cases, your dentist may suggest that an associated root planing may be beneficial, which is a similar procedure but it continues down to the root. Once either or both of these have been given to the patient, antibiotics are usually given in order to prevent the bacteria from coming back.
You should always listen to your dentist and heed their advice when it comes to oral cleansing and cleaning so that you can keep your teeth in good health. They may also prescribe mouthwashes that can help to prevent bacteria from building up.
To make an appointment for a gum disease screening, call (619) 640-5100