Diabetes Related To Your Oral Health?

Posted on Jul 19, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared diabetes to be at a pandemic level with a prevalence that has risen dramatically over recent decades. And, the number of those affected by diabetes is expected to triple in the next decade.

Diabetes is a leading cause of death due to the vascular complications it causes. The most common types of diabetes are type 1, which requires insulin control, and type 2, which is non-insulin dependent.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that results from insufficient insulin secretion or being resistant to insulin. This occurs when the body is unable to properly process carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Regardless of the advancements in treating diabetes, the U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health reports that it is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.”

Diabetes affects all age groups but is most common in adults. According to the American Diabetes Association, the largest segment of those who suffer with diabetics have Type 2 diabetes, which usually begins after age 45.

Initial warning signs of Type 2 diabetes are bad breath and bleeding gums, which are also symptoms of gum disease. Gum disease has been found to be more frequent and severe for patients who have poor control of their diabetes. It has been shown that diabetics can help to prevent periodontal disease by properly controlling glucose levels. This is also helpful in the successful treatment of periodontal disease.

To those in the medical and scientific fields, the initial emergence of diabetes in the form of oral problems makes perfect sense. For decades, various inflammatory diseases and periodontal (gum) disease have shown connections. Not only is gum disease the sixth greatest complication of diabetes, research has shown that one triggers the other.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can create inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. Because of this relationship, diabetics are advised to have frequent dental exams (every 3-4 months) to avoid the inflammatory reactions of gum disease, and vice versa.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include gum tenderness, bleeding gums when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession and gums that darken in color. When these signs are present, an individual should arrange to be promptly seen by a Periodontal specialist before gum disease worsens. For diabetics, the need for treatment has even greater urgency since they have a particular vulnerability to inflammatory reactions in the body.

After a periodontal examination, we will discuss treatment recommendations if gum disease does exist. Call 828-274-9440 to arrange an appointment. And remember, gum disease only worsens without treatment, resulting in greater treatment time and expense with delays. It is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

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