Although the two may not seem closely related, there is indeed a link between diabetes and gum disease. Studies have shown that those with diabetes may be more predisposed to gum disease and other dental issues, including infections. Here’s how the two conditions may affect each other, and what you can do about it.
Can Diabetes Cause Gum Disease?
If your doctor suspects you may be diabetic or pre-diabetic, they’ll most likely order a blood test, which will detect your blood sugar levels. If you’re diabetic, you may feel thirsty or have to urinate a lot. Weight loss and fatigue are other common symptoms.
If diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth as well:
- Your mouth may feel excessively dry
- Gums may be inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis)
- You might be susceptible to mouth infection
- Your gums might feel sore or tender to the touch
Over time, the condition may worsen, particularly if you don’t schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups. Chronic gingivitis can eventually lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Periodontal disease can affect everyone differently, but the most common gum disease symptom warning signs include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Why People With Diabetes Are More Prone To Gum Disease
Studies have shown that periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, mostly due to poor blood sugar control. This is because people with uncontrolled diabetes tend to get periodontitis more often than the average person or those who keep their diabetes under control, and this can make diabetes even more difficult to control.
Fortunately, those who see the dentist and address any current issues related to gum disease or inflammation often see their blood glucose levels respond positively almost immediately.
How to Prevent Gum Disease Associated with Diabetes
The good news is, serious gum disease can be prevented through regular blood sugar monitoring, excellent dental care, and regular checkups. Here are a few ways you can take control of your dental health:
- Control your blood sugar levels
- Use diabetes-related medications as directed
- Limit sweets and sugar in your diet
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Maintain good oral hygiene
- Brush teeth twice a day
- Floss daily
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Schedule regular dental cleanings (2 times per year)
- Use a cleansing mouthwash
- If you use dentures, clean daily
Here in San Diego at Poway Perio, under the experience of Dr. Alireza Khansari MSD, we are happy to help you fight periodontal disease associated with diabetes, and get your teeth and gums back to good health with regular periodontal maintenance.
If you have more questions or would like to book a consultation, we’re happy to discuss your individual situation. Just give us a call at 858-679-0142.