Diabetes is an increasingly common disease in the U.S. and each year more patients are diagnosed. Many of our dental patients are diabetics and the Yuba City Dentistry Group wants you to know that there is another dangerous dental side effect to diabetes. Since the 1980’s, dentists have been aware that periodontal disease and tooth decay affects patients with diabetes more commonly than patients without diabetes. Why does this happen and what should our dental patients do about the problem?
The Gum Disease and Diabetes Connection
When a person has diabetes, their body produces little to no insulin due to a genetic disorder (Type 1 diabetes) or it does not make enough insulin due to other factors, such as obesity (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin causes sugar in the blood stream to be transferred to the patient’s body cells. Without insulin, blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels, with disastrous effects. Diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust accordingly by taking insulin or other prescription drugs.
Dental studies have demonstrated that diabetes approximately doubles the risk of gum disease. This bacterial infection of the gums ultimately leads to tooth decay and loss. We also know that gum disease appears to complicate blood sugar control. Dentists, along with other medical professionals, believe that inflammatory bacteria from gum disease are the cause of this problem.
Diabetes leads to gum disease and gum disease leads to worsening diabetes; the classic vicious cycle! While dentists cannot stop your diabetes, they can cure your gum disease, improving your diabetes prognosis. So treatment from our Yuba City dentists is vital for our patients with diabetes.
Stopping the Cycle
First, maintain good oral health. Have a daily dental hygiene routine to stop the gum disease and diabetes cycle. Brushing twice a day and flossing each day is important for everyone, but especially for those with diabetes. It is also extremely important for diabetic patients to schedule regular visits at our Yuba City dental office for cleanings, because preventing periodontal disease is easier than treating it!
Second, if you already have gum disease, our dentists may recommend antibiotic treatment to improve your blood sugar control. Newer methods of administration, such as Perio Protect mouth trays, make such prescription treatments more effective than ever to treat gum disease.
Lastly, pay attention to our recommendations regarding continuous snacking and the drinking of sugary drinks during the day, as these habits feed more than your stomach — they also feed the hordes of bacteria that live in your mouth and cause dental decay. Constant snacking wreaks havoc on teeth and blood sugar levels!
At the first signs of periodontal disease (like red, swelling or bleeding gums), schedule a visit to our convenient Yuba City dental office. Ignoring gum disease leads to more than tooth decay and expensive dental bills. Periodontitis does not go away by itself or with home remedies. Dealing with it professionally is the best way to secure your ongoing health, despite diabetes or other medical issues.