Does Diabetes Cause Gum Disease, or Is It Vice Versa?

Does Diabetes Cause Gum Disease, or Is It Vice Versa?

Nov 01, 2022

The question is similar to asking what came first, the chicken or the egg. However, the answer is challenging because diabetes and gum disease can affect anyone at any age. Therefore, diagnosing the patient is the only technique available to determine whether gum disease causes diabetes or was it was the other way around.

Diabetes and gum disease has no specific age when they appear as infections in the mouth and body. Diabetes is noted in infants, and so is gum disease. Therefore confirming which started earlier is best diagnosed by a medical professional than trying to answer the question by shifting blame from one condition to the other.

Gum disease, alternatively called periodontitis, is the fifth complication of diabetes behind eye disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve disorders. Gum disease is inflammation of the gums around your teeth from dental plaque buildup.

You develop gum disease with bacterial buildup on and around your teeth extending to your gums. Experts comment that differences don’t exist between the bacteria in the mouth with diabetes and someone without the condition. However, gum disease worsens if you have diabetes because of the body’s higher inflammatory response to the bacteria.

Does Diabetes heighten the Risk of Gum Disease?

Patients develop gum disease because they don’t maintain appropriate oral hygiene and schedule six-monthly visits for dental prophylaxis. If such people unknowingly develop diabetes, they notice a spike in blood sugar levels, increasing their risk of developing gum disease. In turn, gum disease increases blood sugar levels making it challenging for the patient to manage diabetes.

The Connection between Diabetes and Gum Disease

A bidirectional link exists between diabetes and gum disease, states the American Dental Association. It indicates that higher blood sugar levels increase the risk of gum disease and make it difficult to control the sugar to improve the patient’s A1c level. Therefore research confirms the link between gum disease and a higher risk of complications related to diabetes.

Diabetes affects oral health by bringing about changes in the saliva. The fluid is essential in lubricating your mouth, washing food debris, preventing bacterial growth, and protecting tissues battling bacterial acids and tooth decay. Unfortunately, uncontrolled diabetes causes the salivary glands to reduce production, gives you a dry mouth, and might also contain additional glucose.

When you have xerostomia or dry mouth, you become vulnerable to bacterial growth in the mouth that combines with food to form plaque. It is challenging to tartar even when you maintain inappropriate dental hygiene practices. The hardened tartar helps create periodontal disease in the mouth, which, if not treated early, can develop into severe periodontitis.

Complications Affecting People with Diabetes

The most common complication confronted by people with diabetes is gum disease because the uncontrolled spike in blood sugar increases its risk of progressing from mild to severe. Conditions people with diabetes might experience include:

  • Gingivitis: inflammation of the gums indicates gingivitis, the primary stage of gum disease. Plaque and tartar presence on the teeth and near the gum line indicates the development of gingivitis. The condition results in inflammation of the gums, causing discomfort and bleeding.

  • Periodontitis: an infection supporting the teeth with the gums and bones is called periodontitis. It results from untreated gingivitis allowing the gums to pull away from the teeth to leave pockets. The mouth bacteria populate the pockets forming a gum abscess and helping break down gums and bones. Untreated periodontitis results in tooth loss. Other oral conditions related to diabetes include cavities, oral thrush, mouth attrition, or burning mouth syndrome.

Keeping the Mouth Healthy

The American Dental Association with your dentist emphasizes the importance of maintaining good oral care at home and getting six monthly appointments with them, besides making lifestyle changes to benefit your oral health with or without diabetes and gum disease. However, the dentist’s instructions change dramatically if you have a report confirming you also have diabetes with gum disease. In such cases, you might have to visit dentists more frequently to manage your mouth condition and diabetes by working with different medical professionals.

If you have diabetes, you must follow stringent dental hygiene practices by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing once, consuming a varied diet by limiting beverages and snacks with sugar, and getting regular exams and cleanings from the dental office in Broomfield, CO, to ensure periodontitis doesn’t aggravate to cause tooth loss.

You might also have to consider lifestyle change by consuming fluoridated water, quit smoking, and avoiding oral piercings because recovery from such practices become challenging.

People with diabetes are at a heightened risk of gum disease. High blood sugar levels persistently can adversely affect oral health, increasing the risk of infections that might contribute to gum disease. In addition, gum disease makes it challenging to control blood sugar. Patients with diabetes can reduce their risk of gum disease by keeping blood sugar in healthy ranges. However, practicing oral hygiene becomes essential besides attending regular dental appointments.

Fox Creek Dental by Espire — Broomfield provides many people with diabetes gum disease treatment, advising them to maintain appropriate oral hygiene and make lifestyle changes. If you have diabetes and gum disease and wonder how to manage the situation, the dental office can help you positively by providing the necessary treatment and suggestions to make lifestyle changes.

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