Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Mar 8th, 2012 | By | Category: More dental news, Preventive Dentistry

Periodontal diseaseYou check your blood sugar regularly. You take your medications. You follow doctor’s orders for your diabetes to the letter, but your blood sugar is still unstable. Have you also noticed that your gums are swollen and bleeding? You may think your oral health problem is a separate issue, but diabetics are more likely to develop periodontal disease than non-diabetics, and those who have gum disease are more prone to blood sugar irregularities. Here’s what Dr. Moiceanu wants you to know about the link between periodontal disease and diabetes.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease or periodontitis, is a condition that inflames the gums and, if left untreated, destroys the tissues that hold the teeth in place. Gum disease begins with plaque, the sticky material that forms on the teeth when food debris and bacteria collect in the mouth. If plaque is not brushed and flossed away on a regular basis, it will harden into a hard substance called tartar, which inflames the gums and causes them to pull away from the teeth. If periodontal disease progresses, pockets form between the teeth and gums in which bacteria collect. These bacteria can cause infections that destroy the gums and tooth sockets, leading to tooth loss.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. High blood sugar levels can be caused by too little insulin being produced by the pancreas, the body’s resistance to insulin, or both. There are three types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body makes little or no insulin and is usually diagnosed in children and teens. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is usually caused by obesity. Adults are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but children are being diagnosed in record numbers because of rising obesity rates. Gestational diabetes is the third type and occurs during pregnancy, usually abating after childbirth.

How are the two conditions linked?

Diabetes and gum disease are both inflammatory conditions, and the link between them goes both ways. If you are diabetic and have plaque buildup on your teeth, your high blood sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, causing the bacteria to multiply and inflame your gums. If you cannot keep your blood sugar levels under control, you will develop periodontal disease. Likewise, the inflammatory nature of existing gum disease can cause blood sugar spikes, making it harder to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

What preventive measures can I take?

Take the following measures to keep your gum/periodontal disease and diabetes under control:

  • Brush and floss after every meal.
  • Keep your blood glucose as stable as possible.
  • See Dr. Moiceanu every six months for checkups and cleanings or more often if he recommends it.
  • Make sure Dr. Moiceanu knows about your diabetes, and update him on any changes in your condition.

If you are diabetic and suspect you have gum/periodontal disease, call Dr. Moiceanu today at (510) 758-7222 to schedule an appointment. Hilltop Family Dental happily treats patients from Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, Benicia, and the greater Contra Costa County area.

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