As with most things, periodontal disease starts small, unnoticeable. First, unattended bacteria deposit a colorless, sticky layer on your teeth, which eventually becomes plaque. Uncontrolled plaque damages gums and bone and give rise to periodontal disease. That’s the development of periodontal disease in a nutshell but there’s more to the story. More and more scientific studies are pointing to a scarier picture than at first glance. Periodontal disease is now linked to a number of systematic diseases, among them, diabetes. The periodontal disease and diabetes correlation has serious health implications.
There are ongoing debates as to whether periodontal disease compounds diabetes or whether diabetes compounds periodontal disease. Both possibilities are viable. Here are three things you need to know about periodontal disease and diabetes:
Diabetes Affects Periodontal Disease
Diabetes increases glucose presence in the saliva and that makes a conducive environment for bacteria. They have a field day and manufacture more plaque to ruin gums and teeth. That’s one scenario. In another scenario, diabetic patients tend to have high levels of inflammatory chemicals known as interleukins, that can cause damage to blood vessels. Decreased blood flow to the gums may worsen periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease Affects Diabetes
If you have periodontal disease, it may be more difficult tocontrol diabetes. Why? Severe cases of periodontal disease increase blood sugar. That does not sit well for a diabetic person as sustained high blood glucose level can lead to diabetic complications such as damaged nerves (which further jeopardize gum health), poor eye health and hypertension.
Treat One, Treat Another
As you can see, periodontal disease and diabetes are closely linked together. One affects the other. Periodontal disease makes it hard to control blood sugar and diabetes increase risks of periodontal disease. What is one supposed to do, given the close link? Break the cycle. Studies reveal that treating periodontal disease will help you control blood glucose. Conversely, living healthy and managing diabetes will lessen your appeal as a periodontal disease candidate.
Oral hygiene is key in this vicious link. Keep periodontal disease in check with regular checkups and routine cleaning. Visit your Gettysburg dentist for a comprehensive dental exam to determine if you have periodontal disease or initial gum disease (gingivitis). Our knowledgeable and caring team at our Gettysburg dental office will be happy to help you in any possible way.
Submitted by: Peter J. Samuels, DDS