Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you know the disease can harm your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. Did you know it can also cause problems in your mouth? More than 9% of the adult population has diabetes, and the incidence and prevalence is increasing each year. The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease has been extensively researched for more than 50 years. The most recent evidence based findings suggest that diabetics have a higher than normal risk of developing periodontal or gum disease. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. In advanced stages, it can lead to painful chewing problems and tooth loss. Like any infection, gum disease can make it harder to keep your blood sugar under control.
Patients with diabetes and periodontal disease have two chronic conditions that affect each other requiring more frequent dental evaluations and consistent monitoring. Thickening of blood vessels is a complication of diabetes that may increase risk for gum disease. Blood vessels deliver oxygen and nourishment to body tissues, including the mouth, and carry away the tissues’ waste products. Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients and the removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken the resistance of gum and bone tissue to infection.
Studies show that controlling blood sugar levels lowers the risk of some complications of diabetes, such as eye and heart disease and nerve damage. Scientists believe many complications, including gum disease, can be prevented with good diabetic glycemic control. Poor brushing and flossing habits allow dental plaque — a sticky film of germs — to build up on teeth. The gums can become red and swollen and may bleed during tooth brushing or flossing. This is called gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular cleanings by your hygienist. If it is not stopped, gingivitis could lead to the more serious type of gum disease called periodontitis.
At New Image Dentistry we strive to provide you the best evidence based dental care. If you are a diabetic patient we recommend taking a yearly panoramic radiograph to check the bone level surrounding your teeth and more frequent hygiene visits every 3 to 4 months.