Did you know that people with diabetes are twice as more likely to develop gum disease than their counterparts? We look at how gum disease can be an indicator of diabetes.
While 26 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes, another 79 million are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. “Oral health is integral to general health… oral health means more than healthy teeth and you cannot be healthy without oral health,” states the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in America.
Among the many complications linked with diabetes, such as heart disease and kidney disease, gum disease is one complication that is oft-times overlooked. High blood-glucose levels hinder the body’s ability to heal from infections, including gum disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
For those with diabetes, it is essential to control blood-glucose levels, as well as develop healthy oral care habits. Maintaining an optimum blood-glucose level can help prevent the onset of gum disease and even relieve dry mouth that can also be caused by diabetes. Diabetes is also associated to thrush, an oral infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth.
General symptoms of gum disease include bleeding gums, painful chewing, loose or sensitive teeth and receding gums or teeth that appear longer. Poorly controlled blood-glucose levels can lead to the development of serious gum disease, resulting in loss of teeth.
A healthy oral care routine consists of brushing at least once a day, flossing daily and visiting the dentist every six months. When visiting the dentist, be sure to let him or her know whether you have diabetes, as there may be different procedures for patients living with diabetes.