Diabetes – a condition where the body can’t control its blood sugar levels – is very common. In fact, some people might have it without even realizing it! You shouldn’t let it go undetected for too long, however; many studies have found that untreated diabetes can lead to further issues such as gum disease in San Antonio – or even worse, heart attacks. Learn more about this surprising link and why you should be extremely mindful of your overall health.
What is Gum Disease?
First, it’s important to understand what gum disease actually is. The condition occurs when bacteria enter the gums and cause an infection. This can easily happen if you’re not careful about brushing and flossing every day.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. You’ll notice some redness and swelling in the gums; you might also regularly find blood on your dental floss. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it’ll become periodontitis; at this point, there will be a serious risk of tooth loss, and the bacteria in the gums could start moving throughout the body and cause problems in the lungs, heart or brain.
How is Diabetes Connected to Gum Disease?
According to a study published in the journal Diabetologia, patients with diabetes are three times more likely to eventually develop periodontitis. This is because the high blood sugar levels affect the body’s ability to fight infection; since the mouth is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria (warm, moist and in the dark most of the time), the gums are particularly vulnerable.
Worse yet, it’s not just your smile that’s at risk. Diabetes patients who developed gum disease were also three times more likely to suffer from heart attacks. It’s often been suggested that infected gums can contribute to the inflammation and hardened arteries that make heart disease more likely. The takeaway is that uncontrolled diabetes could make it much harder to keep your mouth healthy – and that can lead to life-threatening consequences.
How Can I Tell if I Have Untreated Diabetes?
There are many warning signs of diabetes, and many of them manifest in the mouth. You should seek medical help if you experience:
- Frequent dry mouth (that isn’t a side effect of certain medications)
- Inflamed, bleeding gums
- Troubles with tasting food
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Excessive thirst and frequent visits to the bathroom
- Weight loss, fatigue, and occasional loss of consciousness
Once diabetes has been diagnosed, it can be controlled. In the meantime, make an appointment with your dentist in San Antonio; once you know that your gums are at an increased risk for infection, preventive checkups and cleanings become all the more important. If gum disease is found, it can be treated with periodontal therapy. Don’t wait too long; a swift treatment could make all the difference in saving your smile – and even your life!
About the Author
At New Image Dentistry, a team of 5 highly trained dentists combine their years of experience so that they can offer a wide menu of dentistry services to families in San Antonio. Periodontal therapy is available for patients currently suffering from gum disease. To schedule an appointment, visit their website or call (210) 804-1558.