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The Periodontal Disease – Diabetes Connection

Dentist in Frederick

Dentist in FrederickNearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.

A Sweet Treat for Your Smile

Frederick, MD Dentist

Dentist FrederickDid you know that some types of sugar can be less detrimental for your teeth than others?

The biggest nutritional factor impacting your oral health is sugar. Refined sugars and other refined carbohydrates cause most of the build-up of plaque and plaque-forming bacteria inside the mouth. This build-up is the primary cause of both tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because of this, diets high in refined sugars create a significantly increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease.

The sugars in fruit work differently in your mouth than refined sugars do. Fruit sugars come as a package deal with fiber, which is a major game changer. Fiber stimulates increased saliva in your mouth. Saliva is your first line of defense against the acids that cause tooth decay. Since the fiber that accompanies the natural sugars in fruit creates more saliva, more acid is neutralized and fewer food particles remain on your teeth after eating.

When you’re deciding what kind of sweet snack you want to have, consider the benefits of fruit’s natural sugar and fiber combination. Regular professional dental care can help offset the negative effects of those occasional refined sugar indulgences.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Don’t hesitate to call us to schedule your next dental appointment or forward this email to a friend who may benefit from meeting us.