In the past ten years, oral health experts experts have tried to identify the relationship between diabetes and oral health, particularly to periodontal or gum disease. This is because periodontal disease is the sixth leading complication of diabetes. Patients with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease and may have severe gum infection and bone loss.
Diabetes is a serious disease that is caused when the body fails to convert sugar into energy, which is essential to the body. Diabetic patients have a high sugar level and too much sugar in the blood can trigger more complicated issues related to the heart, kidney, eyes, etc.
This is why patients with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease.
Are there different types of diabetes?
Diabetes can be type 1, type 2, gestational or prediabetes. Studies show that 20 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes–14 million are diagnosed, and 6 million are unaware that they have it.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal or gum disease is an infection of the gum, ligaments and bone of the teeth, caused by bacteria. The microbial film known as bacterial plaque accumulates on your teeth, irritates the gum, and causes infection. If not treated immediately, a person with gum disease will experience tooth loss.
Diabetes Control and Periodontal Treatment
It is difficult to control your blood sugar when you have periodontal disease. In fact, the body’s reaction to periodontal disease can increase the patient’s sugar level. Fortunately, there is a way to treat this. There are periodontal treatments today that, combined with antibiotics, have been proven to improve blood sugar levels.
What are the warning signs?
- Frequent hunger or thirst
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Constant fatigue
- Sudden weight loss without trying
- Slow healing of wounds
- Dry mouth
- Itchy, dry skin
- Stinging or numbness in the hands or feet
Note: Most people who have diabetes don’t notice any signs.
- Redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums after brushing teeth or flossing.
- Gum tissue has dropped due to bone loss causing exposed roots
- Consistent bad breath
The best way to treat periodontal disease and diabetes at the same time is to keep your physician and dentist up-to-date with your condition. They will work together to prevent any possible serious complications.
Diabetes and the Mouth
Periodontal disease is quite inevitable once you acquire diabetes. Although this can’t be avoided, you can at least, minimize the trouble it can cause you.
- Dry Mouth: Xerostomia or dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands can’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moistened. This often makes your mouth inflamed or sore, causing difficulty in swallowing, chewing and tasting, thus making it difficult to control blood sugar.
- Fungal Infection: Candida ablicans is not a very serious fungus inside the mouth, but diabetic patients will find this challenging to treat. Once the mouth dries, the extra sugar in the saliva will create a fungus infection called candidiasis which leaves patchy sores in the mouth.
- Burning Mouth Syndrome: Patients with burning mouth syndrome experience mysterious pain in the mouth without any obvious triggers.