People with diabetes are more at risk for problems with major organs such as the heart and kidneys, but did you know they’re also more at risk for periodontal disease? Also called gum disease, this common oral health condition can jeopardize your smile and even lead to tooth loss. What exactly is the link between diabetes and gum disease?
Inflammation May Be the Link
Inflammation plays a pivotal role in both diabetes and gum disease. People who have diabetes are more likely to have gum disease and to have more advanced cases of the disorder .
Diabetes also lowers your immunity, meaning you’re more susceptible to infection, such as that seen in gum disease. When the body is unable to fight off the oral bacteria involved in infections, gum disease can result and become worse over time.
Periodontal Disease May Affect Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance happens when the body isn’t able to handle excess glucose in the blood, which means blood sugar may become uncontrolled, and one can develop diabetes. Periodontal disease can increase insulin resistance, which can make it more difficult to get diabetes under control, especially without knowing you have gum disease and seeking treatment for it .
Uncontrolled Diabetes Could Lead to Gum Disease
While gum disease can be worse in people with diabetes, unmanaged diabetes can actually lead to gum disease . How does this happen? Not only does gum disease affect your circulation, which can increase the risk of infection, but the high blood sugar levels seen in people with diabetes can encourage the growth of harmful oral bacteria, which can lead to gum disease.
This is why it’s so important to not only manage your diabetes, but to treat gum disease as well.
Dry Mouth May Also Play a Role
Diabetes increases the chances that you’d have dry mouth, which can have consequences for your oral cavity. Not having enough saliva in your mouth can increase plaque and oral bacteria, two factors that can contribute to gum disease . Fortunately, managing your diabetes can help combat this symptom and lower your risk of gum disease, but regular checkups with your dentist are still important!
How to Take the Best Care of Your Smile With Diabetes
If you have diabetes, talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease. Keeping your dental appointments to ensure your smile is healthy is crucial, but so is properly managing your diabetes to ensure high blood sugar doesn’t contribute to oral bacteria and disease. Do you live with diabetes? Ask your dentist how you can best support your smile!
3. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx contenttypeid=85&conte ntid=P00349
4. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing problems/gum-disease-dental-problems