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What Is the Connection Between Diabetes & Periodontal Disease?

Glendale, AZ, Periodontal HealthFor years, gum disease prevention was focused primarily around the oral risks associated with the condition such as infection and tooth loss. Recently, however, studies are showing a clear connection between periodontal disease and other serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Part of the significance of the diabetes and periodontal disease correlation is how each of these conditions actually causes further complications in the other condition. The oral surgeons at Southwest Oral Surgery in Glendale, AZ see numerous cases every day in which periodontal disease has caused diabetic complications and vice versa. Taking steps to protect your periodontal health and keep diabetes in check are vital to keep these conditions from spinning out of control.

How Do Diabetes and Periodontal Disease Affect Each Other?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people who have diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. In turn, periodontal disease has the unfortunate side effect of increasing blood sugar, which leads to further diabetic complications such as peripheral neuropathy and retinal damage.

In general, people with diabetes are more likely to develop infections throughout the body, which explains why periodontal disease, a chronic infection of your periodontal tissue, is itself a common complication of diabetes. Particularly at risk are people who do not have their diabetes under control.

The real problem, however, it that the issue doesn’t end there. Instead, the diabetes/periodontal disease connection is vicious cycle. Research is showing that for patients with periodontal disease, keeping their blood sugar – and therefore their diabetes – in control is actually more difficult.  The more time that your blood sugar is high, the more at risk you are for diabetic complications.

Tips for Patients with Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Good oral hygiene habits are always important, but this is especially true for patients with diabetes. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has several tips to help prevent or slow the progression of periodontal disease and put a halt to the cycle:

  1. Work closely with your doctor and follow his or her instructions for keeping your blood sugar in check. This may include taking any prescribed medications as directed or working to control your diabetes through diet and exercise.
  2. Brush your teeth twice daily using good technique and appropriate products. Your dental hygienist can provide you with tips and even hands-on demonstrations to make sure that you are getting the most out of this habit.
  3. Floss your teeth using an appropriate floss and good technique. Flossing improperly can injure your gums, so ask for assistance and advice from your hygienist.
  4. Visit your dentist for cleanings and examinations as often as he or she recommends. Make sure that your dentist is aware that you have diabetes. Patients with diabetes may need more frequent cleanings to prevent or stop periodontal disease.
  5. If you wear dentures or partials, keep an eye out for changes in the way that your appliance fits and watch for any signs of sores or infection. If you notice any changes or have any sore spots, notify your dentist immediately.
  6. Smoking exacerbates the symptoms and complications of both diabetes and periodontal disease. If you need help quitting, please talk to either your physician or your dentist.
  7. Perform regular checks of your mouth, including your periodontal tissue, your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, and your palate. Check for discolorations, injuries, dryness, white patches, and sore spots. Pay attention to signs that you might otherwise ignore such as bleeding gums and bad breath. If you notice any of these, report them to your dentist immediately.

At Southwest Oral Surgery in Glendale, AZ, we take your total health seriously. We offer advanced treatments for periodontal disease and will coordinate your care with your physician to provide you with the most appropriate treatments for your specific and unique needs.

Call Southwest Oral Surgery today at (623) 792-5794 to schedule a consultation with one of our excellent providers.

CALL US TODAY
AT (623) 792-5794