Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How Diabetes Affects Gum Disease

Gum disease is a rather lesser known health problem associated with patients who suffer from diabetes. In fact, it is considered as the “sixth complication of diabetes.” It is so common though, that one out of three diabetic patients suffer from it at some point in their life.
Poorly managed diabetes can lead to gum disease, not just in adults but in children, too. The condition causes a restriction of blood flow, weakening the gums and leaving it prone to infection. Aside from that, patients with unmanaged diabetes have higher levels of glucose in their mouth. This turns the mouth into a breeding ground for disease causing bacteria.
How To Tell If You Have Gum Disease
The symptoms of gum disease as a result of diabetes can manifest itself in many ways. These signs can appear by themselves or in groups, and can include the following:

  • Pain in the jaw, face and mouth that does not improve even with regular dental care
  • Pain when chewing
  • Odd taste in the mouth
  • Holes and dark spots in your teeth
  • Loose teeth and receding gums
  • Sores and ulcers that do not heal

While these symptoms are telltale signs of gum disease, it is still recommended to consult a dental health expert to get a more accurate diagnosis. Gum disease varies depending on the level of the condition. It often starts off as gingivitis, which is the mildest condition and is characterized by red, tender and swollen gums which easily bleed even after flossing and brushing. Gingivitis can be forestalled by regular dental visits and a proper home health care program.
When gingivitis is untreated, it can lead to mild periodontitis. At this stage, the bone around the teeth starts to erode, requiring prompt medical attention from your dentist. When left untreated, mild periodontitis becomes severe and is characterized by significant tissue loss around the teeth and eventually, teeth loss.
Apart from gum disease, diabetes can also cause dry mouth, which leads to soreness, tooth decay and infections.
Taking Control
If you suffer from gum disease caused by diabetes, it is important to take control of both problems, because having one or the other can lead to a vicious cycle. If either of the conditions is left uncontrolled, they can directly affect and worsen one another. If this continues, it increases the chances of complications from either of the diseases.
Like most people, you may not be informed about the connection between gum disease and diabetes, so it is important to have yourself diagnosed for both. You may choose to include blood glucose tests in conjunction with your regular dental examination. For concerns and questions regarding either condition, feel free to set an appointment with your family dentist and health care provider.

A Family Dental Care Center
2030 West Main St.
Jeffersonville, PA 19403

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