Estimates say there may be 20 million people who have diabetes. Up to one-third of these people have never been diagnosed. Studies indicate that diabetics have a greater risk of developing oral infections and periodontal (gum) disease compared to non-diabetics. The potential for a vicious spiral exists because serious gum disease may affect blood sugar control and contribute to the worsening of diabetes. So diabetes contributes to disease risk in the mouth, and gum disease can contribute to poor blood sugar control. That’s why it’s important to visit Stadium Dental Center in Jefferson City, Missouri regularly and keep us informed about your oral and overall health if you have diabetes.
How are gum disease and diabetes related?
Because diabetes reduces your resistance to infection, the risk threshold for inflamed gums or gingivitis is lowered. Common oral bacteria produce a toxic sticky film coating the teeth both above and below the gum line. This triggers a typically painless inflammatory response in the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis may evolve into periodontitis, an irreversible destruction of the surrounding and supporting dental tissues.
What other problems are associated with diabetes?
Other oral conditions linked to diabetes include thrush (or candidiasis), a fungal infection of the mouth, and dry mouth, which can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities. To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and more frequent cleanings are useful therapeutic tools.
How can I stay healthy?
Brush your teeth with an ADA-recommended toothpaste containing flouride and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash at least twice a day. A diabetic’s best chance of avoiding gum disease is to receive regular dental care and maintain good blood sugar control.
To improve your quality of life and your oral health, keep your medical and dental providers informed about your medical history and gum (periodontal) status. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely in addition to having your triglycerides and cholesterol levels checked regularly. And pay attention to diet and exercise recommendations from your providers if you want to stay healthy!
What is the best time to receive dental care?
If your blood sugar is not under control, talk with both your dentist and physician about receiving elective dental care. Decisions regarding procedures and appointment timing may depend on diabetic control indicators. Also, morning appointments may be favored because blood sugar levels tend to be more stable at this time of day. If you have a scheduled appointment, eat and take your medications as directed. We can help you most if we see you on a regular basis and are kept informed of your current health status.