Diabetes and Your Smile
Over 29 million people living in the United States have diabetes, which amounts to over 9% of the population. Each year, an additional 1.7 million people are diagnosed. Diabetes interferes with the body’s ability to process sugar, leading to high blood sugar levels and consequently, many issues of the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and–you guessed it–your mouth.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of periodontal disease, which occurs when the gum and bone that surrounded teeth become infected. Periodontal disease can lead to swollen, painful gums and even tooth loss in advanced cases.
So what’s the link? Diabetics have poor blood sugar control, which often leads to gum disease. Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, slowing the flow of nutrients and removal of waste products from the mouth. This makes the gums and bone more prone to infection. In addition, many bacteria thrive on sugars. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to high glucose levels in mouth fluids, creating an optimal environment for gum disease. Unfortunately, poorly controlled gum disease can further exacerbate diabetes by making blood sugar levels rise even more. This increased blood sugar makes it even harder to fight new infections, causing more severe gum disease
How does one stop this snowball effect? The first step is scheduling a visit to the dentist to get the gum disease treated. Once this is under control, the progression of the disease is slowed or even stopped. In addition to having regular dental checkups to monitor both diseases, practicing good oral hygiene, changing to a healthier diet, getting routine exercise, cleaning any dental prosthetic and avoiding smoking are all good ways to maintain optimal dental health. Let US help YOU prevent tooth loss!
Check out this useful infographic that explains the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease: