Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Feb 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Dental News, Preventive Care

fresno diabetesDiabetes affects around 18 million Americans and is characterized by the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels. While some people are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes, the disease has reached epidemic proportions in the United States largely because obesity is on the rise. Diabetes can affect the functioning of your eyes, cardiovascular system, kidneys, nerves, and feet, but there’s one more complication that’s less commonly known: periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as periodontitis and gum disease, is an inflammation of the gums that, if left untreated, can cause major damage to the tissues that support the teeth and result in tooth loss. Gum disease begins with oral bacteria that help form plaque on the teeth. Regular brushing and flossing help get rid of this sticky substance, but any plaque that isn’t removed can harden and form tartar, which cannot be removed with brushing. If you do not have this tartar removed by your dentist, it will cause inflammation and pull the gums away from the teeth. Pockets can then form between the gums and teeth, collecting more bacteria and eventually causing infections that destroy the bones, teeth, and gums.

How are periodontal disease and diabetes linked?

The link between these conditions is a two-way street. Gum disease and diabetes are both inflammatory conditions, so your inflamed gums can cause blood sugar spikes that are difficult to control. Likewise, your diabetes can create a host of problems in your mouth. Diabetes inhibits your body’s ability to fight infection, so any amount of oral bacteria can run rampant when you have this condition. Add to that the chronic dry mouth and poor tissue healing that accompanies diabetes, and you will have a difficult time controlling the bacteria in your mouth and keeping infections at bay.

How can I prevent gum disease if I have diabetes?

The first step is to keep your blood sugar levels under control by seeing your physician regularly, sticking to your diet, and taking your medications as recommended. Secondly, you should receive regular checkups and dental cleanings by Dr. Alex Denes or Dr. Claudia Denes to allow him or her to catch any problems early on. Third, you must be meticulous with your oral care regimen. This means brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash at least twice a day.

If you have diabetes and it’s time for a checkup, call Drs. Alex Denes and Claudia Denes today at (559) 297-1800 to make an appointment. Fresno Dental Studio happily serves patients from Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

4 Comments to “Diabetes and Periodontal Disease”

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