Did You Know?
People with diabetes are three to four times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments and bone that support your teeth and hold them in the jaw. More than 20 million adults and children are affected by diabetes in the United States.
It is a serious disease where the body does not produce or properly use insulin. The body needs insulin to transport sugar from the blood to the body’s cells where it is used for energy. When you have diabetes it is more difficult to control your blood sugar which can lead to complications affecting the heart, kidneys, eyes and oral cavity.
In The Mouth
If plaque and toxins build up on the teeth it can make it even harder for a diabetic to control their blood sugar. Inflammation in the gum tissue can raise blood sugar and increased blood sugar can make periodontal disease worse. They worsen the symptoms of each other. It is very important to keep your blood sugar in check with medication and diet. And it is equally important to keep your teeth and gums healthy with good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Constant hunger or thirst
- Constant fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Weight loss without trying
- Slow wound healing
- Dry, itchy skin
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Blurred vision
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Swollen, red gums that bleed with brushing or flossing
- Gum recession exposing root surfaces of the teeth
- White or yellowish plaque and tartar buildup on teeth
- Pus coming from tender gum tissue
- Constant foul odor coming from the mouth
Periodontal disease is not the only oral problem that can occur with diabetes. Diabetics often complain of dry mouth from medications taken to manage their diabetes. When a patient is lacking saliva, a fungal infection called Candida albicans (thrush) is often prevalent. Thrush causes sore red or white areas in the mouth. Burning mouth syndrome can occur randomly without any dry mouth or sores.
Preparing For Your Dental Appointment
For patients with diabetes, it is best to come first thing in the morning after eating your usual breakfast. Check your blood sugar before coming to the office, making sure that it is in a normal range and under control. Take any medication or insulin as prescribed by your physician. If you have any questions on how to control periodontal disease or need help with home care instructions your hygienist is full of tips and suggestions.