Ypur Dental Hygiene Linked to Improve Diabetes Control

A significant link between diabetes and dental habits has been found

Diabetes is becoming more of a common problem in the United States. Many people that have it do not even know it, yet it continues to slowly cause damage to the organs. Another problem that may be noticed even sooner is that it can cause gum disease. Having regular high blood sugar levels can make gum disease very hard to control.

The Problem with Diabetes

Gum disease can become a serious oral health problem when you also have type 2 diabetes. While having diabetes does affect your ability to control gum disease, recent research has revealed that not controlling gum disease can also make diabetes worse. This means that both must be controlled at the same time in order to limit the effects that each one could cause.

When you have gum disease in the early stages, gingivitis, and diabetes, it is also highly probable that you will develop periodontitis, which is the more serious form of gum disease. This is because diabetes weakens your immune system, making your gums less able to fight the bacteria that cause it.

Some bad bacteria that are normally found in your mouth are responsible for causing cavities and gum disease. The problem is that they feed on sugar. So when you have diabetes and gum disease, even when you cut back on eating sugar, because they are in your gums and bloodstream, they are able to draw on the sugar in your blood. This is why both problems need to be worked on at the same time.

The Connection

A study conducted at the University of Buffalo revealed that reducing the symptoms of periodontitis also helped to reduce problems with type 2 diabetes. When periodontitis was treated with non-surgical methods (scaling and rootplaning), the result was that it improved the sugar levels of the people in the study. From the study, the researchers concluded that by treating a patient's oral health that you could also help to reduce the symptoms of diabetes and improve their overall health, too.

Periodontal disease will increase your blood sugar levels. When periodontitis is treated thoroughly, the body is able to handle the sugar better. This enables you to gain better control of your diabetes.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Because gum disease can be hard to control when you have type 2 diabetes you should be able to recognize it in the early stages. The symptoms of gingivitis include:
  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss

  • Red or inflamed gums.

When you have early-stage gum disease, you can usually remove it rather easily. All you need to do is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss. If you have diabetes you will also need to cut down on the amount of sugar you consume to help control it.

The symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth.

  • Pus at the gum line.

  • Spaces developing between teeth.

  • Bad breath.

  • Teeth that are becoming loose.

  • Your dentures and bridges do not fit as well.

  • Teeth may even fall out in more severe stages.

If you have periodontitis, then in addition to working on controlling diabetes, you will also need to see a periodontist for dental treatment. Periodontitis is not easily removed, but it can be successfully treated.

Reducing Dry Mouth

People with diabetes often have a dry mouth. This can cause worse gum disease because saliva is needed to help control the bad bacteria and acid by washing it away from your teeth. It also helps to keep sugar off of your teeth and helps to add minerals to the enamel on your teeth that the acid from the bacteria leaches out of them.

You can overcome dry mouth problems by sipping on water through the day. Do not add sugar or fruit juice to it, or you are just feeding the bacteria more.

Treatment for Periodontitis

There are several ways that a periodontist may treat your gum disease, depending on how severe it has become. The treatments may include:
  • Antibiotics

  • Scaling and rootplaning

  • Flap surgery

  • Gum and bone grafting surgery.

The longer that periodontal disease is allowed to continue, the worse it can become. This is especially true if you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels.

If you a have a regular habit of brushing and flossing and still find that your gum disease is getting worse, then you likely have diabetes. There are several factors that can cause it to damage your teeth, gums, and jawbone rapidly. If you have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes, get tested. Seeing a periodontist soon can also enable you to get specialized treatment. If you wait to treat periodontitis after it reaches the severe stage, the required dental procedures become very expensive.

If you have periodontitis and diabetes, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He has offices in the Carrollton, TX and the Grapevine, TX areas. You can get the dental treatment you need, as well as cosmetic dentistry if needed to restore your smile. For more information about his dental services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at (817) 756-8578.