You hear a lot about gum disease, but do you understand its consequences? Many people do not realize the effect conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can have on their overall health. Without preventive efforts and proper treatment, you could experience severe damage to your gums and even bone loss. Diligent dental habits can help…
3 Tips for Managing Both Your Diabetes and Gum Disease
People who have gum disease often have diabetes and vice versa. Diabetes is a condition that can affect a person's vital systems like the nerves, heart and kidneys. It also leads to dental issues. Periodontal diseases are at the top of the list.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the bones that hold teeth in place and a person's gums. It is easily reversible in its early stages, but it can lead to pain and the loss of teeth in its advanced stages. Just as is the case with any other type of infection, gum disease makes it harder for a person's systems to control their blood sugar level.
The link between gum disease and diabetes
People who have a hard time regulating their blood sugar levels are more likely to get gum disease. They are also more likely to lose their teeth due to gum disease. However, people who have their diabetes under control are not any more likely to develop gum disease than those without diabetes.
The most effective way to protect against and keep gum disease under control is by maintaining proper sugar levels. Controlling diabetes does not only protect against gum disease, it also protects against some of the complications that are often associated with diabetes like heart disease, nerve damage and eye issues.
Diabetes also affects a person's blood vessels, making it harder to fight off gum disease. It thickens the blood vessels, slowing down the flow of nutrients and oxygen the tissues in the gums need to fight off the infection.
Managing gum disease and diabetes
1. Keeping blood sugar levels controlled
As was mentioned earlier, people with well-controlled diabetes are no more likely to develop gum disease than those without it. The bacteria that lead to gum disease feast on sugars, so it is better to avoid feeding them with glucose-rich saliva. By controlling blood sugar levels, saliva gets to do what it is supposed to: keep teeth and gums clean.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking increases a person's risk of developing gum disease. The risk becomes even higher when the smoker has diabetes. People who have diabetes, are older than 45 and smoke regularly are up to 20 times more likely to develop gum disease. These people can drastically reduce their odds of getting gum disease and improve the odds of successful treatment by giving the habit up.
3. Get the necessary treatments
Gum disease is a lot easier to treat in its early stages, and that holds even truer for those with diabetes. Once symptoms of gum disease like tender gums, loose teeth or pus coming from the places gums and teeth meet are noticed, immediate dental care is needed to prevent the infection from getting worse. That is the best way to prevent gum disease from damaging the tissues and structures that hold teeth in place.
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