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The Connection Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Gum Disease and DiabeticsDiabetics understand how the disease can affect nerves, kidneys, heart and eyesight. But did you know that diabetes can affect your dental health?

Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum (periodontal) disease among those with diabetes. Dry mouth is often a symptom of undetected diabetes, and can cause mouth ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Poor blood sugar control also increases the risk of gum disease.

Other research data also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way, meaning that not only are diabetics more susceptible to gum disease, but that serious gum disease may also affect blood glucose control, which contributes to the progression of diabetes.

A disadvantage is that diabetics are more susceptible to bacterial infection with the decreased ability to fight off an infection of the gums, making them a prime candidate for the disease.

Conditions to Watch Out For:

  • Dry mouth; It can lead to ulcers, infection and tooth decay
  • Thrush; Diabetics taking antibiotics for infection are more susceptible to getting this fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. This fungus thrives on high sugar levels in the saliva and may give off a burning sensation in the mouth and on the tongue.
  • Swollen or bleeding gums; frequently a sign of infection, your dentist should be notified if you begin to experience either.

Good dental care is important to everyone, but if you are diabetic, it is crucial that you protect yourself from additional infections. Studies show that while tooth loss is beginning to decline, it is higher among people with diabetes.

Tips to Prevent Gum Disease and Protect Your Mouth:

  • Control your blood sugar levels
  • Brush and floss daily. Remember the 2min2x rule.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your dentist
  • Notify your dentist of any changes in your medication or condition

For a more detailed information about diabetes and your dental health, download the Diabetes and You: Healthy Teeth Matter! Document from the CDC.gov