Diabetes causes changes in blood vessels, and high levels of specific inflammatory chemicals such as interleukins, that significantly increase the chances of periodontal disease. High levels of triglycerides (which are common in type 2 diabetes) also appear to impair periodontal health. Obesity, common in people with type 2 diabetes, may also predispose a person to gum disease.
Controlling both type 1 and 2 diabetes may help reduce periodontal problems. For children with diabetes, good oral hygiene should begin at a young age.
People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.
Factors That Link Diabetes to Gum Disease
Studies show that people with insufficient blood sugar control seem to develop gum disease more frequently and more severely then people who have good management over their diabetes.
Diabetes slows circulation, which can also make the gum tissues more susceptible to infections.
Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which increases the probability of the gums becoming infected.
High glucose levels in saliva promotes growth of bacteria that cause gum disease.
People with diabetes who smoke are far more likely to develop gum disease than people who smoke and do not have diabetes.
Poor oral hygiene is a major factor in gum disease for everyone, but it is even more so for a person with diabetes.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Red and swollen gums
Gums that tend to bleed easily
Gums separating from the teeth
Frequent bad breath
Change in the way your teeth fit together
Change in the way partials or dentures fit
Maintain good control over your blood sugar levels.
Do not smoke.
Good oral hygiene and regular dental check ups are essential in preventing gum disease.
Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Be sure to tell your dentist and hygienist that you have diabetes so that he can detect any signs of early gum disease.