Oral Health and Diabetes: Any Connection?

It's important for everyone to visit a dentist in Fairbanks twice a year for an exam and cleaning and to get any additional issues taken care of right away. But diabetics are at greater risk of certain dental problems, so it's important that they stay on top of their blood sugar and their dental health. Diabetics may require additional care to ward off gum disease, which can develop into more serious periodontal disease. Here are some things you need to know about the relationship between diabetes and gum disease.

What's the Association?

It's been known for years that diabetics are more likely to struggle with gum disease, but there's also new research suggesting that serious gum disease could also cause diabetes to progress more rapidly. Any infection makes it more difficult for the body to control blood sugar, and the same is true with infection or inflammation in the mouth. When the inflammation progresses to periodontal disease, the body has even more difficulty because it's unable to utilize insulin to process sugar and turn it into energy. The association is a two-way relationship because high blood sugar makes it easier for infections to develop and grow, and this inflammation makes it more difficult to control diabetes, so the problems build on each other in a seemingly vicious cycle.

What Conditions Can Result?

When diabetes and gum disease are together there are a few conditions that can occur. Gum disease is usually the earliest condition, which can quickly progress to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is characterized by gums that pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets that are easily filled with infection. The gums will bleed frequently, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which is especially dangerous for diabetics with a compromised immune system.

Eventually you'll lose teeth and then the bone in the jaw will begin to deteriorate. Oral thrush is another infection that's caused by a fungus and exacerbated by additional glucose in the saliva. Diabetes can also cause dry mouth, which is a condition resulting from insufficient saliva. Insufficient saliva makes it easier for bacteria and fungus to grow. Another thing to consider is the danger uncontrolled blood sugar poses if you have a condition requiring an emergency dentist in Fairbanks, AK. Dental procedures are always safer when blood sugar is under control.

Does Good Oral Hygiene Really Help?

While the connection between diabetes and gum disease may be disheartening, it doesn't mean you should resign yourself to serious periodontal disease if you're a diabetic. Good oral health like regularly brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist can have a large impact on both your oral health and the progression of diabetes. Since blood sugar often rises with infection, you can help reduce those chances with proper personal and professional oral care. Catching gum disease early on is key to proper treatment and prevention is more likely when you regularly see a dentist.

What's the Blood Sugar Connection?

In addition to good oral hygiene, controlling blood sugar is vital to maintaining good oral health. Good blood glucose control can help prevent or relieve dry mouth, which can help slow the growth of excess bacteria. Preventing high blood glucose levels also helps prevent the ideal conditions for bacteria growth and infection. You can help prevent being caught in a vicious cycle of periodontal disease and diabetes problems by calling a dentist today for more ideas on improving your oral health. Contact the team at North Pole Dental Workshop to learn more!