Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body is unable to use blood sugar as energy, because the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, which is the hormone that balances the amount of glucose in the blood. Lack of insulin leads to high blood glucose levels, which in turn damage our blood vessels and nerves, and so diabetes can affect any part of the body, including our gums. And if gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease.
So, what is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is the weakening of the bones that surround and support the teeth, and when left untreated it can lead to tooth loss. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease because they are less able to fight infections in general.
How does it develop?
Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, leading to poor flow of nutrients and blood. This weakens the bone surrounding the teeth, as well as the gums, making them prone to infections. Diabetes also increases the levels of glucose in saliva, and since harmful bacteria in the mouth feeds on glucose people with diabetes are more likely to develop plaque, tartar, and inflamed gums, and ultimately periodontal disease.
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Have I got the symptoms for periodontal disease?
You should see your dentist for a precise diagnosis, but let’s take a look at some of the most common symptoms, which may help you identify the disease.
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Loosening of teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Constant bad breath
What are some of the other causes of periodontal disease?
- Regular smoking
- Lack of proper oral hygiene
- Viral infection
- Certain medications
- A medical condition that weakens your immune system
What can I do to prevent periodontal disease?
We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining a thorough and regular oral care routine. Brush your teeth twice every day. Floss every day. Clean your tongue with a tongue scraper every day. And use mouthwash every day.
We know it’s hard but make an effort to quit smoking, under the supervision of your doctor, as it will help keep your blood glucose level under control and reduce the risk of diabetes and gum disease.
So, don’t forget that prevention is better than cure, and make sure you get into the habit of brushing, flossing, and rinsing, every single day, to enjoy happier and healthier smiles.