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Diabetes is one of the leading diseases in America and affects over 25 million people nationwide. It is sometimes referred to as the “gateway disease” because it can affect many different systems in the body. The mouth is no exception to this and diabetes has been linked to periodontal disease. In fact, of the 50 million Americans diagnosed with periodontal disease, 33% of them also have diabetes. Both periodontal disease and diabetes can cause serious harm if not treated and regulated. Below are a few reasons how these health conditions are linked.
Dry mouth is a common symptom in both type I and type II diabetes. The exact cause is unknown, however, people who suffer from dehydration, kidney failure, and high blood sugar levels, often experience dry mouth. On the surface, a dry mouth does not seem so bad when contrasted with the other symptoms of diabetes, however, saliva production has a much bigger impact on the body then you might think. Without saliva, there is nothing to wash the bacteria away from the teeth and gums. If proper brushing is not achieved then the bacteria will work its way to the gums and cause periodontal (gum) disease. The infection from the periodontal disease will also cause your blood sugar to rise because of the metabolic stress your body is under. This can cause someone to slip into a diabetic coma and require medical attention
Your dentist will be able to help keep periodontal disease at bay by regularly managing your oral health. Dental cleanings are able to clean the hard tarter from your teeth that is simply too hard for a toothbrush to remove on its own. A dentist can also examine your gums and see if any gum receding is present, which is an early sign of gum disease. However, do not underestimate the power of managing your oral health between visits. Flossing helps remove the bacteria between your teeth and keep it from seeping into the gums. Rinsing with mouthwash also eliminates most of the bacteria found in your mouth that causes periodontal disease. Of course, brushing twice a day is the most effective way to remove the bacteria and plaque.
Diabetes and gum disease are more closely linked then you might have once thought. At Jackson Family Dentistry our mission is to educate our patients and increase their oral health. Our staff is trained to spot the signs of gum disease in its early development stage and treat it before it becomes a larger issue. If you are currently diagnosed with diabetes and you feel your oral health has started to decline, we urge you to make an appointment with your dentist. If you are recently diagnosed with diabetes, make sure to alert the dentist of your diagnosis so your oral health can be monitored more closely. If you would like more information on diabetes and its link to periodontal disease, visit our website or call our office and speak with a staff member.