Gum Disease, Diabetes, and Your Health

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Close-up of three sugar cubes on wooden tableApproximately 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. That makes up about ten percent of the population. Many of these people have no idea that they suffer from such a serious disease. People with diabetes may experience several types of health problems, including issues with the eyes, kidneys, and heart. These patients have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke, and have a greater susceptibility to infections.

Diabetics also have a greater chance of developing oral health problems. Dr. Richard Hada wants our patients who suffer from diabetes to have an awareness of the oral health issues they may develop, such as gum disease, which increases the risk of patients developing heart disease, pregnancy complications, and respiratory diseases.

To learn more about how diabetes and gum disease can affect your health, call our Mission Viejo, CA, dental office today at (949) 951-1067 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Hada.

Oral Health Problems Associated with Diabetes

Diabetes, especially when not controlled through diet or medication, can lead to several oral health problems. For instance, patients with high blood sugar become more susceptible to tooth decay.

Diabetics may suffer from salivary gland dysfunction, resulting in a decreased flow of saliva. Some diabetic medications can cause a reduction of saliva as well, often leading to a condition known as dry mouth.

Several oral fungal infections may occur as a result of diabetes decreasing the body’s ability to fight infections. Patients may also suffer from other oral infections, and experience a delay in healing. Some children with diabetes will see their teeth erupt earlier than most.

To help combat these oral health issues, Dr. Hada encourages you to let him know if you suffer from diabetes. He will also need to know if you have your blood sugar levels under control, and any medications you take for the condition.

Keeping the doctor apprised of changes in your medical history, such as a diagnosis of diabetes, will allow him to tailor your dental treatment to help combat oral health problems associated with the disease.

A Unique Relationship

Gum disease is the most common dental disease associated with diabetes, affecting about 22 percent of diabetics. Diabetes and periodontal disease have a unique relationship. Studies show that each disease has an effect on the other.

Patients diagnosed with diabetes become more susceptible to infections like gum disease. This has led to gum disease joining the list of complications from diabetes. Patients who do not have their diabetes under control through diet or medication will find themselves especially at risk to develop periodontal disease.

The first stage of gum disease, caused by a buildup of dental plaque due to poor brushing and flossing habits, is called gingivitis. The high level of sugar in the blood of diabetics increases the risk for plaque buildup and requires extra vigilant brushing and flossing to keep it at bay. Gingivitis causes the gums to become red and swollen, and may cause the gums to bleed when the patient brushes his teeth. Brushing and flossing, however, along with regular dental cleanings, will usually clear up gingivitis.

When not properly controlled through dental care, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more serious stage of gum disease. This escalation happens when plaque builds up under the gums and hardens. The gums pull away from the teeth, allowing pockets of infection to form, which leads to bone loss in the jaw and, eventually, the loss of your teeth.

Unfortunately, periodontitis also increases the production of blood sugars. This puts diabetics, who already have elevated levels of blood sugar, at an even greater risk for other health problems. It may also lead to the development of diabetes in some patients who have not been diagnosed with the disease.

Preventing Oral Health Problems

If you have diabetes, Dr. Hada may recommend more frequent checkups and cleanings to keep your mouth free of problems, and may suggest an anti-microbial rinse to help prevent infections.

Diabetic patients who wear dentures will need to take them out and clean them every day. A change in your diet may also help, especially cutting out food and drinks with high sugar content.

Diabetic patients can help themselves by exercising and getting their blood sugar under control. Maintaining a regimen of good oral hygiene and attending regular checkups and cleanings, at an interval suggested by Dr. Hada will help patients keep their mouths clean and free of disease.

Call Us Today

To learn more about diabetes and gum disease, and how they can affect your health, call our Mission Viejo, CA, dental office today at (949) 951-1067 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Hada.