Millions of people are living with diabetes in the United States. In fact, studies show that 9.4% of the population is actively living with diabetes, and 8.1 million people aren’t even aware that they have diabetes. Every single year, a million more people are diagnosed with the illness. Researchers have found that there is a correlation between people with diabetes and gum disease.
In order to prevent any oral complications in the future, it’s important to understand how diabetes plays a role in the development of gum disease, and possible treatment options for those who have already it.
All of the food we consume turns into sugar and is used for energy. When individuals develop diabetes, it affects their ability to process sugar, whether it’s Type I or Type II. Type I is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin from food, which is a hormone that carries sugar to blood cells.
Type II is when the body stops responding to insulin altogether. The longer diabetes goes untreated, it can decrease the production of saliva, which is needed to protect the teeth from cavities and keep the breath fresh. Gums can become inflamed causing excessive bleeding, also known as gingivitis. Diabetes could affect an individual’s ability to taste food. It also makes the mouth more susceptible to infections and also causes delayed wound healing.
The most common oral health issue that individuals with diabetes experience is periodontal disease. Those with diabetes are more prone to bacterial infections since the immune system becomes too weak to fight off bacteria that invade the gums. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to properly control sugar levels, the risk for gum issues increases, causing a continuation in the rise of blood sugar levels. This makes the correlation more problematic because the longer both are left untreated, the more both issues worsen, making the relationship between gum disease and diabetes a two-way street.
Fortunately, having a good oral hygiene routine and getting periodical deep cleanings from a dentist helps lower blood sugar levels while simultaneously keeping the gums healthy. It’s vital that people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels because ultimately their oral health will benefit since the body will maintain its ability to fight off any excess bacteria that cause infections. A great routine would be taking prescribed diabetes medication, brushing teeth twice daily, flossing, and maintaining a balanced diet.
At McBride Dental, we care about our patients’ oral health and want our clients to maintain the healthy smile they desire. We understand the relationship between diabetes and oral health, which is why we encourage our patients to come regularly for their checkups so that we can analyze their teeth and gums and best assist them in the direction of maintaining their health. If you think you might be experiencing symptoms of gum disease, call 760-471-1003 to schedule an appointment.