Diabetes leads to a variety of health complications that can affect the heart, eyes, nerves, kidneys, and even your mouth. Studies have shown that poor diabetic control increases the risk of periodontal disease significantly, especially in individuals who already have poor dental hygiene or who smoke.
Gum disease ultimately results from bacterial infections in the mouth. Diabetes contributes to this in a variety of ways, all of which feed into each other and make the risks more severe:
- Dry mouth: One of the symptoms of diabetes is dry mouth, which results from reduced amounts of saliva. Saliva performs a number of functions in your mouth, including removing sticky substances, limiting bacteria growth, and providing nutrients to the teeth. If you don’t have enough saliva, your gums will be more susceptible to infection.
- Thicker blood vessels: Every part of your body relies on your bloodstream to deliver nutrients and carry away waste. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to thickened blood vessels which limit blood flow. Thus, fewer nutrients reach your gums and waste is carried away less efficiently, resulting in diminished resistance to infection.
- Increased glucose levels: The core of diabetes is the lack of blood sugar control. This naturally leads to increased glucose levels throughout your body, including the saliva in your mouth. Since bacteria feed on sugar, this makes your mouth a prime breeding ground for infection.
Taking all these factors into consideration, it’s easy to see how diabetes can increase the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. It can lead to increased bacteria levels in the mouth while diminishing your body’s ability to ward off infection. Thus, good diabetic control is key to keeping your gums healthy.
What to Do
Central to preventing gum disease is good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings. In addition, keeping your blood sugar under control as much as possible will also go a long way toward preserving your periodontal health.
It’s important to note that you may need to delay a nonemergency procedure if your blood sugar is out of control. Diabetes can also slow healing from certain procedures, such as periodontal surgery.
Skilled Dental Care
If you have symptoms of diabetes or periodontal disease, prompt action is key. If left alone, these can wreak havoc on your overall health. In its early stages, gum disease can be reversed through proper hygiene. However, if it’s not caught until later, you will likely need more involved treatment. Ultimately, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent complications from gum disease. To learn more or set up a consultation, contact Lynn Dental Care today.