Diabetes and Gum Health

gum disease photo
Photo by AJC1

Did you know that there is a connection between diabetes and gum diseases?

If you’re one of the nearly 30 million people in America who suffer from diabetes, then you may be at an increased risk for periodontis and other gum diseases that can affect the health of your mouth, gums, and teeth. Emerging research has shown that compromised blood glucose levels may prevent the body from properly dealing with issues associated with gum infections, leading to an increased risk of tooth and gum damage. Likewise, gum infection may exacerbate glucose balance in the body, which can have a more profound impact on those suffering from diabetes.

Gum Disease

Gum diseases such as gingivitis periodontis may seem like simple issues. But the compounding nature of enamel and tissue damage in the mouth can quickly spiral out of control. If left alone, periodontis can lead to the breakdown of the gums and the tissue connecting the teeth to the jaw. It can likewise begin to break down the bone of the jaw itself, which necessitates surgery to prevent potentially lethal complications.

Fungal infections can also become a serious problem if not properly monitored. ‘Thrush,’ an oral infection (also known as oropharyngeal candidasis) is caused when naturally occurring C. albicans fungus gets a foothold in the soft tissue of your mouth. Though C. albicans is a natural part of your body’s ecosystem, it can quickly become an issue if your ability to fight infection is compromised. It is likewise thought that, through the increased presence of sugar in the saliva of those with diabetes, the C. albicans fungi can produce faster and overwhelm the body’s natural defenses.

Mouth bacteria is an inescapable part of dental health. Proper brushing and flossing techniques help to maintain the normal balance of this bacteria, but any situation in which the body’s ability to fight infection is compromised means that the presence of bacteria should be watched closely. For those with diabetes, this means scheduling regular trips to the dentist, along with your regular flossing and brushing routines.

Oral Health and Diabetes

As with every issue connected to your body’s overall health, oral care effects, and is affected by, other conditions you may be experiencing. With diabetes, it is important to watch your mouth health closely. Don’t schedule major dental work during periods in which your body’s glucose levels are not maintained, and keep a close eye on any problem areas you may be worried about. Make sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes–they’ll be able to adjust your treatment accordingly. And, as always, make sure to ask questions. Both your physician and dentist will be more than willing to make you feel comfortable.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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