“Both gum disease and diabetes are chronic diseases, and they both make each other worse.“
November is American Diabetes Month
Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects our body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of our bodies.
In addition, diabetes can lower our resistance to infection and slow the healing process.
According to the American Diabetes Association, here are just a few of the recent statistics on diabetes:
- Nearly 30 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
- Another 86 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
How Are Diabetes & Dental Health Related?
According to the ADA’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org, if you have diabetes, you are at greater risk of developing some oral health problems.
The most common oral health problems associated with diabetes are:
- Gum disease. Recent research suggests that the connection between gum disease and diabetes goes both ways. On the one hand, because of lowered resistance and a longer healing process, gum disease appears to be more frequent and more severe among those with diabetes. Conversely, it appears that treating gum disease in people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar control.
- Fungal infections. Since diabetes compromises your immune system, you may be prone to developing fungal infections. Symptoms include painful sores and difficulty swallowing. If you develop a fungal infection, see your dentist.
- Infection and delayed healing. If you are having extensive oral surgery, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. To help the healing process, keep your blood glucose levels under control before, during and after surgery.
Checkout & share this helpful diabetes & dental health infographic to learn more:
Why People with Diabetes Are More Prone to Gum Disease
Take it straight from the ADA, all people have more tiny bacteria living in their mouth now than there are people on this planet.
If they make their home in your gums, you can end up with periodontal disease. This chronic, inflammatory disease can destroy your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth and even your bones.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed.
Especially with increasing age, poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems.
In fact, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise.
This makes diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.
Got questions about diabetes & gum disease?
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This post originally appeared on DentalPatientNews.com and has been republished here with permission.