When it comes to the relationship between dental health and diabetes, it is a two-way street. Considering that nearly 26 million people suffer from diabetes in the United States and another 79 million are at high risk, there is a large population that needs to be aware of how their oral health affects their diabetic conditions – and vice versa!
The most serious and most prevalent dental problem that is linked to diabetes is gum disease. Gum disease begins when bacteria and plaque accumulate in your mouth, which eventually triggers inflammation and infection within your gum tissues. At its advanced stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and heart disease. Unfortunately, poor blood glucose control increases your risk for mouth bacteria and decreases your ability to fight bacteria on your gums. Therefore, since diabetes is a condition that requires diligent management of blood glucose, diabetic patients are more likely to encounter gum disease.
As mentioned before, the connection between gum disease and diabetes goes both ways. Not only does diabetes increase your chances for gum disease, but the presence of untreated gum disease can also make it more difficult to control blood glucose.
It is important to know that gum disease is not inevitable for diabetic patients. It does mean, however, that you’ll need to take extra measures to keep your oral health in check. This may involve more diligent oral hygiene and seeing the dentist more than twice a year. It also makes it even more important to properly manage your diabetes condition. If you have changes in your medication or experience symptoms of gum disease or decay, let your dentist know as soon as possible.
Family First Dental is qualified to treat every member of your family, including those that have diabetes. We provide attentive and specialized care to those who are at greater risk for serious dental complications such as gum disease.