The relationship between diabetes and your oral health is a two-way street. More specifically, it is the condition of your gums that can affect and be affected by your blood sugars. In other words, uncontrolled gum disease can lead to diabetes and uncontrolled diabetes can make it more difficult to stop gum disease. It is a vicious cycle that deserves a closer look.
Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition. When the body initiates an inflammatory response, it impacts insulin sensitivity and can eventually lead to unhealthy blood sugar levels. This can be especially worrisome for diabetics. On the other side of the street, if you have poorly managed blood glucose levels, it can be hard to combat plaque formation in your mouth, which is the foundation for gum disease. Furthermore, people with untreated diabetes often suffer from dry mouth. Without adequate amounts of saliva, acids and bacteria don’t always get washed away, and decay and infection can result.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you’ve got some extra responsibilities in regards to your dental care compared to the average person. Clinical guidelines from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) emphasize the importance of periodontal health for people with diabetes. This should include routine follow up with your dentist as recommended. In addition to your regular cleanings, you may also need periodic “deep cleanings”. A deep cleaning is also referred to as a scaling and root planing. Don’t worry; it is a non-invasive, simple procedure designed to remove stubborn plaque and bacteria around the tooth root and beneath the gum line. It also smooths out the surfaces of your tooth so that the gums are encouraged to reattach. When gums become inflamed or infected, they can pull away from the tooth and form deep pockets. A scaling and root planing can reverse this process at an early stage.
At Mitzi Morris, DMD, we want to know if you suffer from diabetes, even if it is at a very mild stage. We also want you to tell us if you have a chronic dry mouth, swollen gums or other changes in your oral health. This helps us ensure that your oral health is not compromising your overall health. Dr. Morris offers complete periodontal therapy that can eradicate gum disease and help you control your diabetes better. We encourage you to do your part in managing your glucose levels and taking extra precautions to monitor your gum health.