Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the sixth most common disease in the world. People with diabetes are more likely to experience gum disease if they’ve had poor blood sugar levels for a long period of time.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth and eventually leads to tooth loss. The good news, though, is that gum disease is preventable and can be easily treated in the early stages of the disease.
WHAT DOES GUM DISEASE HAVE TO DO WITH DIABETES?
People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing gum disease. Poorly managed blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels, the heart, the kidneys, the eyes and the feet. In the same way, the gums can too be affected.
Because high blood sugar levels lead to damage to blood vessels, this reduces the supply of oxygen and nourishment to the gums, making infections of the gums and bones more likely.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can cause levels of glucose to rise in the saliva and this creates a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the risk of gum disease and dental decay.
Severe gum disease can negatively affect your blood sugar control and increase your chances of suffering from other common long-term complications of diabetes. The inflammatio, which occurs in the gums, escapes into the bloodstream and upsets the body’s defence system which in turn affects blood sugar control. In other words, gum disease and diabetes are linked in both directions.
The European Federation of Periodontology recommends that following a diagnosis of diabetes you should inform your dentist and undergo a comprehensive dental check up.
People with diabetes should have regular dental check-ups, including a review of gum health. If your dentist or hygienist detects gum disease, they can help you with your treatment and initial management. You will need an intensive course of treatment and more regular follow-up visits compared to those who do not have gum disease.