Diabetes is a serious medical condition that affects every part of your body. That includes your mouth and teeth. Essentially, diabetes is a condition in which your body fails to respond to high levels of blood sugar. The hormone insulin helps your cells turn sugar in the blood into a energy for your cells. In type 1 diabetes, the condition is genetic and the body simply doesn’t produce enough insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin but stops responding to it.
Diabetes and Your Mouth
What kind of damage does diabetes do to your mouth?
- It can cause dry mouth which puts you at higher risk of cavities
- It can cause gingivitis
- It can reduce your sense of taste
- It can delay the healing of open wounds
- You can be more susceptible to infection in the mouth
Gum Disease and Diabetes
Those with diabetes are more susceptible to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease can ravage the gums causing irreversible damage to the gums, teeth, and jawbone.
About 22% of those diagnosed with diabetes also suffer from gum disease. Those with poor blood sugar control are at higher risk for gum disease. A serious infection in the mouth, as with any infection, can also cause blood sugar to rise. So the problem becomes self-sustaining over time. The diabetes increases your risk of gum disease which makes you more susceptible to diabetes.
On the other side of that argument, research suggests that treating periodontal (gum) disease can have a positive overall effect on diabetes treatment as well.
Treatment for Gum Disease with Diabetes
Treating gum disease promptly is of vital importance for those with diabetes. Dentists generally treat gum disease by removing pockets of tartar that have built up below the gumline. This is where the bacteria that causes gum disease lives. Once the tartar is removed, the bacteria is removed as well. This should decimate the infection and make your diabetes more manageable.
Dealing with Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is a major risk factor for several mouth-related problems. Your mouth relies on saliva to break down the tiny particles of food that get stuck between your teeth. When your mouth is dry, those tiny particles of food turn into plaque and tartar becoming the perfect destination for the bacteria that cause gum disease. Dry mouth will also hasten the pace at which cavities occur.
Fighting Gum Disease Means Fighting Diabetes
For those with diabetes, gum disease creates a second risk factor that causes the disease to progress faster. Any infection will cause blood sugar to rise and it’s no different for the bacteria that cause gum disease. Getting rid of one major underlying infection can cause your blood sugar levels to lower meaning that your condition will begin approaching normal.
If you have diabetes and your gums bleed when you brush them, you should contact your dentist immediately to discuss your options for dealing with periodontal disease.
Contact a Dentist in Sedona for Help
If you’re concerned with gum disease, call Peak Family Dental Care today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.