If you are one of the 29 million people in the United States with some form of diabetes, your immune system may not be as strong as you might like it to be, and it can make you more susceptible to gum disease. For those with diabetes, it’s important to understand how it can increase your risk of periodontal disease and how having periodontal disease can worsen diabetes complications. Thankfully, our Gainesville dentists at Comprehensive Dental Care are here to teach you the connection between diabetes and gum disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects your gums and tissue that holds your teeth together, specifically the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. As bacteria and microorganisms form in your mouth, it can cause the buildup of plaque and tartar that sticks to the teeth and surrounding tissue. Regular brushing can remove plaque, but tartar needs to be removed by a professional.
The Connection To Diabetes
According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease is commonly seen with diabetes and is often considered a complication of diabetes. However, the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes is a two-way street. Those with diabetes are more susceptible and have less resistance to infections, including periodontal infection. High glucose levels in your saliva can also promote bacteria growth leading to plaque build-up. According to the American Dental Association, severe periodontal disease increases blood sugar levels, making it harder to control your blood sugar and increasing the risk of diabetic complications. In addition, if you suffer from periodontal disease and diabetes, it can increase the progression of tooth loss.
Dental Implants & Bridges With Diabetes
Dental implants and bridges are a common solution for those who have lost teeth, and due to the link between diabetes and gum disease, you may have a higher chance of needing these. Unfortunately, if you have gum disease, it can also make it more difficult to get dental implants or bridges. To get these, you must have healthy gums, and if severe gum disease is what caused the tooth loss, the gum disease will have to be under control before tooth replacement. When your gums are healthy, the next step is to control your blood sugar, which is a factor many dentists consider when determining if you are a good candidate for dental implants or bridges. For those with diabetes, it is important to consider you may have a longer healing time, as you have a higher risk of infection.
Diagnosis Of Periodontal Disease
In order to properly diagnose periodontal disease, a dental hygienist will use a tiny probe between each of your teeth, checking for any deep pockets around your teeth. This test is usually painless and is an important part of diagnosing periodontal disease. Dental hygienists may also take an X-ray to check for bone loss. If you notice any of the following symptoms, we recommend contacting one of our dentists in Gainesville, FL.
- Red Or Swollen Gums
- Gum Tenderness Or Bleeding
- Persistent Bad Breath
- Pain While Chewing
- Sensitive Or Loose Teeth
- Receding Gums
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment will vary. However, it will require patients to get a thorough cleaning to remove any tartar or bacteria, in addition to maintaining their oral health at home. Your dentist may also modify behaviors to control the infection, such as quitting smoking. In some cases, patients may also be prescribed medications, such as antibiotics, and in severe cases, patients may need surgery to repair any damage.