Patients who are diagnosed with diabetes often struggle to adapt to the massive adjustments in lifestyle that this disease demands. Their lives end up being upended in ways that require constant monitoring throughout each day, a new emphasis on diet, and concerns about everything from fatigue to neuropathic problems. Few of these patients ever have time to wonder how their condition might affect the health of their teeth and gums. If they were to ask, however, many might be surprised to learn that their diabetes can dramatically increase their risk for gum disease and other dental problems.
How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
The problem for these patients is twofold. First, the disease places a tremendous burden on the immune system, and that can result in a disruption in homeostasis and cause chemical imbalances in the body. All of those stressors can make it more difficult for your mouth’s natural germ-battling capabilities to keep pace. In addition to that, the high glucose levels associated with diabetes prevent the mouth from healing any infections that may develop.
And, as if that weren’t bad enough, the gum disease can incite even higher levels of blood sugar and inflammation – which then exacerbates the diabetes and makes it even more difficult to bring both conditions under control. Official estimates from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that somewhere around thirty percent of diabetes patients also suffer from the ravaging effects of some type of gum disorder.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Even for diabetes patients, gum disease can be treated. It is important, however, to identify the condition as early as possible. Despite the fact that gum disease is not always accompanied by pain, there are some clear symptoms that can serve as early warning signs:
- Bleeding during brushing and flossing
- Teeth that are separating from gums
- Unusually bad breath
- A difference in how your teeth come together when you bite or chew
- Any pus around the teeth and gums
- Tender or reddened gums, often accompanied by inflammation
- Loose teeth
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention is always the first line of defense. Fortunately, studies indicate that diabetics who maintain control over their blood glucose levels enjoy the same rate of gum disease as non-diabetics. That means that these patients should focus their efforts on dietary maintenance, so that blood sugar is kept within normal parameters. That, along with good dental habits and regular checkups and treatments at the dentist’s office can help most patients to maintain the healthy teeth and gums they deserve. Of course, those efforts should include regular brushing, flossing, use of an antibacterial wash, and dental cleaning.
When it comes to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you choice of dentists matters too. At Ebenezer Dental, our team can help to provide you with the regular care needed to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and attractive at all times. So, whether you need an examination, teeth cleaning, or gum disease treatment in Midtown Manhattan, we’ll provide the care you need to secure your oral health and keep that winning smile!