More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population –have diabetes. Diabetic patients have a harder time fighting off infection including gum disease.
Diabetes can affect your oral health in many ways that you might not expect. Uncontrolled blood sugar hinders the healing response which makes fighting off infection and repairing gums much more difficult. A healthy body fights off bacteria very easily while someone who suffers from diabetes struggles with bacteria pockets in the mouth. Without treatment, untreated bacteria can lead to serious gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious condition that can result in tissue damage and in some cases tooth loss.
It can also work in reverse. For example, having a serious infection may contribute to rising blood sugar levels, which means not only does having diabetes make infections harder to fight, but also having advanced periodontitis may make diabetes harder to control.
Other ways diabetes can affect your oral health includes having a drier mouth. When you have a dry mouth, it can put you at a higher risk for cavities making it harder for wounds to heal in your mouth. You may also have a difficult time tasting food.
Here are some ways to take better care of your teeth and mouth when you have diabetes.
Control your blood sugar.Work with your health care professional and diabetes educator to help in this area if you’re having trouble with it.
Signs of gum disease. The earliest signs of gum disease is when your gums bleed after brushing or flossing. Periodontitis can make your gums look bright red; plus, gum disease has a distinct smell, he adds. Other signs of gum disease may include:
- Gums that pull away from your teeth, causing your teeth to look longer than before.
- Loose or separating teeth.
- Sores in your mouth.
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite.
- A change in the fit of partial dentures.
The good news is that most gum disease can be reversed to a normal state with a more vigilant oral care routine. A couple weeks of thorough brushing and flossing is usually all it takes to reverse most early stages of gum disease.
If you have gum disease that can’t get under control by better brushing and flossing you may need to come in and see us at Blasco Dental for proper treatment. Dr. Blasco may recommend certain treatment plans likes scaling, an approach that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line; or root planing, which smooths the tooth root and helps gums reattach to the tooth. Other treatments include lasers that help destroy bacteria and the use of antibiotics placed under to gums. More advanced cases may require gum surgery.
The best way to ensure healthy gums is to come in and have your teeth check every four to six months. This ensures healthy gums and avoids potential bone loss by deep cleaning which can flush out the bacteria and stimulate gum to a healthier state. Call our office today to make an appointment at 702.933.1300.