Diabetes is a systemic disorder that affects your body’s ability to process sugar. For various reasons, people with diabetes are at a greater risk for developing gum disease than people without diabetes. However, diabetics who practice careful control of their blood sugar levels can greatly reduce or even eliminate this risk.
How Gum Disease and Diabetes Are Connected
Diabetes is caused by the inability of the pancreas to create an enzyme that digests sugar. If blood sugar is not carefully controlled, side effects can lead to problems with healing, cardiovascular issues, and a higher risk of gum disease. One possible cause of the higher risk for gum disease is that poor blood sugar control means there will be more sugars available in the mouth for bacteria to feed on. This encourages the bacteria colonies in your mouth to grow, which can lead to inflammation of the gums. This inflammation can then become an infection, which could become serious enough to need treatment from a periodontist.
Any infection or inflammation makes it more difficult to maintain blood sugar control. So if you are diabetic and develop gum disease, the infection in your mouth can in turn affect your ability to control your blood sugar.
Dental Care for Diabetics
If you are diabetic, you should be sure to take very good care of your teeth and gums. In order to help protect your teeth, you should also be sure your blood sugar is under control. This means maintaining an appropriate diet as recommended by your doctor, taking insulin if you have been prescribed to, and monitoring any problems that might develop in your mouth as well as elsewhere in your body.
People with diabetes who lose teeth are generally not considered to be good candidates for dental implants because of the effects diabetes has on healing. This makes it even more important to practice diligent oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing and visiting the dentist. If you have any questions about the best way to take care of your teeth and prevent gum disease, call our team today.