The Connection Between Gum Disease and Diabetes

gum disease CarrolltonDid you know that gum disease and diabetes are connected? These two health conditions are one of many examples of how oral health is connected to overall health. Oral systemic health, the concept that the health of the mouth is connected with the health of the body has been researched and studied extensively in the last two decades. Gum disease can become a very destructive condition that is capable of causing tooth loss and can destroy bone. Because diabetics are very susceptible to gum disease, our periodontist encourages diabetics to take a proactive approach to their oral health by maintaining a healthy diet, good oral hygiene, and regular appointments for dental care.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, means that the gum tissue is inflamed and infected. In its early stages, periodontal disease is manageable and curable if addressed with thorough oral hygiene and professional treatment. Unfortunately, early stages of gum disease may not produce symptoms, and patients learn of their condition after it has advanced.

When plaque (a transparent film filled with bacteria) is not properly removed with proper flossing and brushing, it will cause the gums to become irritated. Plaque will eventually harden into tartar when it is exposed to calculus, which then builds up along and ultimately under the gum line. As tartar builds up, it will cause the gums to recede from the teeth. Over time, the infection spreads and teeth lose support from the gums.

Why are diabetics more susceptible to gum disease?

Diabetic patients are more vulnerable to developing gum disease for a number of reasons. One common reason is their decreased production of saliva, the mouth’s natural way of rinsing away plaque and diluting acid. Dry mouth can also irritate the gum tissue because the gums are not as moist as they should be. Furthermore, an impaired immune system accompanies diabetes and this makes it difficult for the body to fight off any infection, including an infection of periodontal tissue.

What steps should diabetics take to fight gum disease?

Our periodontist strongly encourages patients to practice a thorough oral hygiene regimen with proper flossing and brushing techniques. Diabetic patients should strive to manage their blood glucose levels and receive regular dental checkups and cleanings.

To schedule an appointment for gum disease treatment, call ROOT Periodontal & Implant Center today.