Diabetics need to take extra care of their teeth

Diabetes care

What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

It's the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and involves a deep bacterial infection of the gum that dissolves the bone around the teeth.

Over time, this erodes the grip or hold the gums have on teeth without receiving treatment from a dentist, patients can literally become long in the tooth with their teeth becoming wiggly and falling out.

Periodontitis (or infection around the teeth) has also been called Pyorrhoea (pronounced pie-re-ah), Periodontal Disease, or Gum Disease.

So where does gum disease fit in?

This is a true chicken-and-egg question. More and more, evidence shows that people with periodontal disease are more likely to be diabetics then people with healthy gums. But researchers still aren't sure which comes first - does having diseased gums increase the chance of diabetes, or does having diabetes increase the risk of gum disease?

What we know so far indicates that it may be a feedback loop that works both ways!

In a long-term study conducted at Columbia University in the United States found that individuals who had gum disease were more than twice as likely to develop diabetes as those who did not - even after adjusting for age, smoking, diet, and so on. An interesting twist, however, was that those subjects whose gum disease progressed to the point where they last all of their teeth appeared to be at a lower risk for diabetes!

While no Brisbane dentist would recommend losing one's teeth in an attempt to prevent diabetes, it appears that eliminating the toothy source infection improved long-term risk.

Holistically, in a diabetic patient, the presence of any infection, including gum disease, makes it difficult to control blood glucose levels - thus making control of diabetes more difficult! Therefore, it seems that good oral hygiene and dental care to prevent infections and gum disease will also help with controlling diabetes. Yet another reason to visit your Brisbane dentist regularly!

What this means for you...

In practical terms, it really doesn't matter whether the chicken came first, or the egg. If you have gum disease, you need to follow a treatment plan that will correct this. If you are a diabetic, you need to take very good care of your health. Good control of your blood sugar will make preventing and correcting gum disease and other complications that much easier.

At Bite Dental, we always schedule time to do a full gum measurement and check at every exam appointment - whether you're diabetic or not. So you can rest assured that your teeth and gums are in the best hands when you visit this Brisbane dentist.