Periodontitis is a serious gum infection. It damages the gums and the bone that supports one’s teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis or gum disease, can not only lead to tooth loss, but can also have other systemic implications, such as an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Today, the disease is as common as it is preventable, and unfortunately, studies have confirmed that periodontitis is three times more likely to affect people with Diabetes.
Periodontitis and Diabetes have a two-way relationship; that is, being diabetic leads to an increased risk of developing periodontitis (gum problems), and having periodontitis can also affects the body’s glycemic index (in people with or without Diabetes). Whilst non diabetics might be able to tolerate an increase in the glucose levels when being affected by gum disease, we all know how important it is to mantain low glucose levels in Diabetes. Having severe gum disease leads to increased glucose levels, and poor glycaemic control in Diabetes can lead to other complications of the diabetic condition. As it can become a vicious cycle, the early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal dusease is essential for people with Diabetes.
The good news, is that by treating gum disease, studies report a reduction of up to 0.4% in the glucose levels (HbA1c). Studies also show, that 1% reduction of HbA1c can have a significant positive impact in the prevention of other more serious Diabetes complications. Hence, looking after your mouth properly and making sure your periodontal disease is under control could mean having a healthier life in the long run.
Again, as defined above, periodontitis is a complex chronic inflammatory disease, in which the patient suffers from inflammation of the periodontal tissues that has are stimulated by the long-term presence or buildup of dental plaque (bacteria). Both Diabetes and Periodontitis are characterized by inflammation, which may further the connection between the two.
Despite the increased susceptibility, as a diabetic dental patient, there are a number of steps you are able to take to prevent and/or control the development of Periodontitis. Managing Diabetes is complex, but monitoring additional aspects of one’s health is now more crucial than ever. Self-monitoring and working to educate oneself on the topic of Periodontitis and Diabetes dental care is as crucial, as is an increased level of attention to the medications you may be taking. Having good oral health care between appointments—brushing regularly, flossing, utilizing mouthwash, and reducing the intake of acidic foods that harm tooth enamel—is equally important. Schedule regular checkups with your dentist, and when anything feels “not right” between appointments, do not hesitate to seek emergency treatment.
All in all, managing dental care with Diabetes means extra work on your part. But with adequate education, proper nutrition, and effective oral health management, you will significantly reduce your risk of contracting periodontitis. For more information on how Diabetes puts patients at an added risk of Periodontitis, contact the health professionals at Diabetes Dental Care today.