What does one have to do with the other? A lot more than you might think.
Without proper management, diabetes can thicken blood vessels. Necessary nutrients don’t flow through the body as they should, and the removal of harmful wastes from body tissues is hampered.
This dynamic compromises the health of your mouth. Gums and bones become weaker, and more susceptible to infection. Higher blood sugar levels in the mouth can cause bacteria to grow, leading to gum disease. When the gums and bones are infected, your overall blood sugar can also rise and prove more challenging to control.
Here’s what you should look for if you suspect you have gum disease:
- Gums that are red, swollen and sore
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Dentures that no longer fit
- Puss between the teeth and gums
- A change in your bite or the alignment of your jaw
Treatments for gum disease depend upon the severity of the condition, but they might include deep cleaning, medications or even surgery.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken before gum disease has a chance to reach an advanced stage.
- Brush your teeth and tongue thoroughly at least twice daily
- Floss daily around the curvature of each tooth, and scraping up and down several times from the bottom to the top. Make sure you rinse after flossing.
- Control your blood glucose reading.
- Schedule regular check-ups with your physician and stay vigilant in following their dietary recommendations
- Schedule regular check-ups with your dentist
- Make your dentist aware of any changes to your teeth or gums
- Remove dentures every day and clean thoroughly
For good or bad, diabetes and gum disease both have an impact on the other. If you have diabetes, it’s important that you start a dialogue with your doctor about these risks.