New studies keep reaffirming that diabetics are at a higher risk of developing gum disease and losing their teeth. The risks are especially high for patients with Type 2 diabetes or blood sugar levels that are not well controlled.
The suspected reasons are:
Bacteria: Bacteria thrive in sugar based environments and when your blood sugar levels are up they can grow out of control. In your mouth, this can mean the development of gingivitis and gum disease.
Changes in the Blood Vessels: Diabetes contributes to the thickening of your blood vessels. When this happens, their ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your mouth tissue and take away the waste products is inhibited. This creates an environment where periodontal disease can take hold and get out of control.
Smoking: Many diabetics continue to smoke in spite of the dangers to their health. Diabetic smokers over the age of 45 have a 20% higher chance of developing advanced periodontal disease and losing their teeth.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, there are things you can do to protect your teeth and gums.
- Keep your blood sugar under control
- Stop smoking
- Brush twice and floss once daily
- Let your dentist know about your diabetes
- See your hygienist at recommended intervals - she may need to see you more often
- Follow up on all recommended treatment
- Let us know right away if your blood sugar is out of balance during a dental visit
It is important for diabetics to do all they can to keep their mouths healthy. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can challenge your immune system and make it harder to control your blood sugar. Once the periodontal disease is under control, many patients find their blood sugar levels are easier to manage.
In our office we take both diabetes and gum disease very seriously. We understand the risks involved and love helping our patients become more healthy.
If you would like a dental office that is committed to your health and understands how to work with diabetics, we would love to talk to you. Call: (916) 624-3119