Is There a Connection between Gum Disease and Diabetes?

May 1, 2018

If you knew that there is a connection between gum disease and serious, life-threatening diseases, would you be motivated to care better for your dental health? What about the reverse scenario: what habits would you change if you knew that seemingly unrelated diseases increase your risk of gum disease?

Researchers have studied the connection between gum disease and other health problems, and the findings show that there is a link.

Dangers of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, happens when there is an infection in the gum. This infection could impact the bone in that area, eventually leading to pain, discomfort and even tooth loss. With gum disease, early diagnosis is the best option to reduce the risk of long-term damage.

How Diabetes Impacts Gum Disease

If you have an infection anywhere in your body, then it is harder to manage blood sugar levels. At the same time, it has been found that the risk of gum disease goes up in people with poor blood sugar control. It has been debated whether gum disease leads to blood sugar issues or if it is the other way around. But, most dentists agree that controlling blood sugar levels should be an important part of gum disease treatment.

When someone has diabetes, poor blood sugar management causes the blood vessels in the body to thicken. This result can impact the risk of gum disease because it slows the delivery of important nutrients to the bone and gums in your mouth. Thickening of the blood vessels also slows the removal of waste, which could lead to a higher risk of infection.

Glucose Levels in the Saliva

It has been found that people with diabetes have high levels of glucose in their saliva. The bacteria in the mouth that causes gum disease feeds on sugars. So, the increased glucose levels could promote the growth of bacteria and lead to serious infections in the gums.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Whether or not you have diabetes, it is important to watch for common symptoms of diabetes. These are a few signs that you need to talk to your dentist:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Consistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth that are changing position in your mouth
  • Visible separation of the teeth and gums

If you suspect that you have gum disease, then it is essential that you schedule an appointment right away. Contact us to learn more about treatments for gum disease.

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