It’s estimated that nearly 24 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and said that millions more are simply undiagnosed.
According to a vast body of research, control of your blood glucose is closely linked to periodontal disease… but which came first, the diabetes or the periodontal disease?
Research says that it’s a two-way street. Having serious periodontal disease affects blood glucose and can contribute to the progression of diabetes. Those with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because not only are they more susceptible to bacterial infection, they also have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
Periodontal disease is also linked with a variety of serious health conditions, including diabetes.
The American Diabetic Association says those with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
But even when patients don’t have diagnosed diabetes to begin with, the presence of advanced periodontal disease significantly increases their risk of developing diabetes.
How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
Research has proven that those with poorly controlled blood glucose levels are more likely to develop more serious periodontal disease and lose more teeth than those with stable blood sugar.
Diabetics are more prone to the less common oral health conditions, like thrush, ulcers and early tooth loss.
What Those With Diabetes Can Do to Control Oral Health
First and foremost, those with diabetes need to get their blood glucose under strict control – not just for oral health reasons. Blood sugar stability helps slow the progression of the disease and can help prevent diabetics from facing some of the more serious side effects of the disease, like neuropathy, eye trouble and more.
Because diabetics are more prone to infections, keeping the harmful bacteria in their mouths in check is a good way to keep problems at bay. Oral care probiotics are a simple way to tip the balance of oral bacteria in favor of the friendly flora.
Good oral care is essential for diabetics. Patients need to keep up with regular dental appointments and professional cleanings, and, like the rest of us, they need to brush and floss with care.