November is recognized as National Diabetes Month, an opportunity for communities across the country to bring awareness to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. At Complete Health Dentistry of the Emerald Coast, we’re shining a light on an often overlooked connection: the intricate relationship between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease.
Understanding the Connection
Research has long established that there's a two-way relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease. Here's how they interlink:
Diabetes Affects Oral Health: Elevated blood sugar levels in diabetic patients can cause thickening of blood vessels, reducing the supply of nutrients to the gums and slowing down the removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken the mouth’s natural defenses, leading to bacterial infections in the gums.
Periodontal Disease Can Impact Diabetes: Severe gum disease can affect blood sugar control. Bacterial infections in the mouth can lead to an increased inflammatory response throughout the body, which in turn can make it harder for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
A Telling Statistic
According to the American Academy for Oral & Systemic Health (AAOSH), a staggering 95% of Americans with diabetes also suffer from periodontal disease. This statistic underscores the importance of understanding and addressing this profound connection.
Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease
For those with diabetes, it's particularly crucial to be aware of early warning signs of gum issues. These include:
Red, swollen, or tender gums
Gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing
Persistent bad breath
Loose or separating teeth
A change in the way your teeth fit when you bite
Taking Objective Measures
Beyond the typical signs and preventive measures, at Complete Health Dentistry of the Emerald Coast, we take a proactive and objective approach. We test for the pathogenic bacteria that cause gum disease right in our office. By doing so, we offer a truly objective measure to diagnose and personalize treatment for gum disease.
Oral Care Tips for Diabetic Patients
Regular Dental Check-ups: Bi-annual visits to our clinic can help detect early signs of periodontal disease.
Maintain Blood Sugar Levels: Keeping blood sugar levels in check will reduce the risk of oral health complications.
Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing twice a day, flossing, using a mouthwash, and oral probiotics can help reduce the risk of oral infections.
Inform Your Dentist: Always inform your dentist about your diabetes status, medication, and how well your blood sugar levels are controlled. This information can guide both your treatment and recommendations.
National Diabetes Month
As we mark National Diabetes Month, we want our community to recognize the importance of oral systemic health. There's much more to diabetes than blood sugar levels, and understanding the broader implications can lead to better overall health management.
At Complete Health Dentistry of the Emerald Coast, we’re committed to providing comprehensive care that looks beyond the teeth, understanding the intricate connections between oral health and overall well-being.
This November, as we highlight diabetes, let’s also pledge to give our gums the attention they deserve. A healthier mouth can lead to a healthier life!
If you or a loved one has diabetes or pre-diabetes, we invite you to contact us today to schedule your appointment and discover how our innovative approach to dental care can contribute to a healthier, happier life.