The link between diabetes and gum disease

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Dentist Melbourne
Melbourne's Home of Dentistry

Gum-diseaseGum disease is one of the lesser-known complications that can affect patients with diabetes.

It is estimated that 1 in 3 diabetics suffer from periodontitis at some stage of their disease.

What is periodontal disease and why does it have to be diagnosed and treated?

Periodontal or gum disease is a serious gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and may prevent you from achieving the nutritional goals set by your doctor or diabetes educator.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause an infection that destroys the bone supporting your teeth. As the gum disease progrsses, symptoms may include tooth loosening or shifting, bad breath, and/or bleeding gums.

Periodontal disease can worsen blood glucose control and vice versa. If your blood glucose is high or fluctuates, you are at risk of developing severe periodontal disease.

Please answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions to determine your risk of periodontal disease:

  • Have you ever noticed blood on your toothbrush, on your food or in your saliva?
  • Do you have any loose teeth or teeth that have shifted on their own?
  • Have you ever been told you had gum disease or had a tooth pulled because of gum disease?
  • Do you use any tobacco products?
  • Has it been over two years since you last saw a dentist?
  • Is your hemoglobin A1c level greater than 7.0?

One or more responses of “yes” warrants a dental examination for periodontal disease. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits though, periodontal disease is preventable.

This article first appeared on Dental Care.

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