Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Diabetic patients are at an increased risk for developing periodontal disease compared to patients that are not diabetic. This risk is particularly high for those that have trouble controlling blood sugar. Once periodontal disease takes hold, blood sugar may become even more difficult for diabetic patients to control. Fortunately, gaining control over diabetes may help patients gain control over periodontal disease and gaining control over periodontal disease may help patients gain control over diabetes.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease Risks
Diabetes causes patients
blood sugar to rise because of complications with insulin. In Type I diabetes, there is a pancreas complication that inhibits the body
s ability to produce insulin. In Type II diabetes, insulin is produced, but the body has an inability to absorb and use the insulin to lower blood sugar. Over time, the immune system is weakened by poorly regulated blood sugar and patients become more susceptible to infections and illnesses, such as periodontal disease. Controlling diabetes by monitoring blood sugar regularly and following a proper nutrition plan may help to mitigate these increased risks.
Periodontal Disease Development
Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of dental plaque. The dental plaque causes the gums to become infected and inflamed. When the inflammation response occurs, the immune system may not be able to adequately respond in diabetics. This may cause periodontal disease to progress faster and cause greater damage. If not treated adequately, periodontal disease may cause the bone and tissues that support teeth to decay, which can result in tooth loss.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
All patients can help to prevent periodontal disease by brushing, flossing, and attending regular dental appointments. Diabetics should be especially diligent about these preventative measures due to the increased risk factors. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet, may help to prevent periodontal disease. Seeing a periodontist may also help, as periodontists can identify factors such as bone structure and bite pattern that may further increase a patient
s risk of developing periodontal disease. Periodontists may also be able to identify early gum disease, which can help patients to treat the gum irritation before it progresses.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease treatment for diabetics depends on the severity of the disease. If the disease is caught in early stages, lifestyle changes such as controlling sugar and practicing better tooth care may help to eliminate the infection. If the disease has been allowed to progress, deep cleaning coupled with medication or antibiotics may be recommended. If the disease has begun to deteriorate the bone surrounding the teeth, surgery may be required to help regenerate the bone.