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Diabetes and dental health

Diabetes and dental health

September 25, 2017

Diabetes and dental health. You wouldn’t think they affect each other. But, they do.

Research shows there’s a strong relationship between serious periodontal disease and diabetes. 

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a form of gum disease that affects nearly half of adults in the US. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of your gums. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. This buildup will cause the gums to pull away from the teeth forming pockets. These pockets attract harmful bacteria and can become infected causing chronic bad breath and permanent damage such as bone, tissue and tooth loss. 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that occurs when your body can’t properly process and manage blood glucose. Glucose is our main source of energy. We get it from the foods we eat. When we eat, our bodies produce insulin. It’s a hormone that’s made by our pancreas that helps our bodies use glucose for energy. If our bodies produce too much or not enough insulin, then glucose stays in our blood and doesn’t get properly used for energy. Nearly 10% of the US population has diabetes.  

How is periodontal disease connected to diabetes?

The relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes is like a cycle. People with diabetes are more susceptible to severe gum disease. Gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar. It’s also harder to fight gum disease, or any infection, when your blood sugar isn’t under control. And visa, versa. Its harder to control your blood sugar while your body is trying to fight an active infection. 

How can I keep my mouth healthy if I have diabetes?

Periodontal disease is preventable and reversible if caught early.

Prevent periodontal disease by remembering to:

  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit your dentist regularly

If you have diabetes, be sure to tell your dentist and stay on top of your regular dental check-ups. They’ll check for signs of gum disease and other oral health problems. Gum disease is treatable and even reversible when caught early. Diabetes can also cause dry mouth, ulcers and infections. Your dentist can help treat and prevent these conditions, too.

Don’t wait. Schedule your next appointment today.

Need a dentist?  Use our Find a Dentist tool to search for one near you.

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