Did you know diabetes can help contribute to dental health issues? If you are an adult with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and your blood sugar control is sometimes not as good as your doctor wants it to be, you could be at greater risk for developing oral health problems. One of these potential threats includes a serious type of gum infection called periodontal disease that can lead to the loss teeth. Diabetes may lower your ability to fight the germs that cause periodontal disease, also known as gum disease.
Periodontal Disease and Blood Glucose
Periodontal or gum disease is a serious gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and might prevent you from achieving the nutritional goals set by your doctor or diabetes educator. If not detected by a dentist or hygienist or if left untreated, periodontal disease can cause an infection that destroys the bone supporting your teeth. As the gum disease progresses, symptoms might include tooth loosening or shifting, bad breath or bleeding gums. Periodontal disease can worsen blood glucose control and vice versa. If your blood glucose is high or fluctuates, you are at risk of developing severe periodontal disease.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
- Red and swollen gums.
- Gums that bleed are not healthy. Even if your gums bleed only when you brush too hard, ANY sign of bleeding is not normal.
- White or yellow pus around gums.
- Teeth that are longer and gums that have pulled away from teeth.
Consider the following questions:
- Have you ever noticed blood (red) on your toothbrush, on your food, or in your saliva?
- Do you have any loose teeth or teeth that have shifted on their own?
- Have you ever been told you had gum disease or had a tooth pulled because of gum disease?
- Do you use any tobacco products?
- Has it been over two years since you last saw a dentist?
- Is your hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.0?
One or more responses of “yes” warrants a dental examination for periodontal disease.
If you have diabetes, be sure to pay special attention to your oral care routine, because periodontal disease is preventable with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.