November 13, 2009
November is National Diabetes Month, which means many people, including the team here at Dr. Mays’ office, are paying close attention to news about diabetes risks and treatment. Didhygienist examining pt you know that diabetics suffer higher rates of periodontal (gum) disease? The most likely explanation for this is that diabetics are more susceptible than others to contracting infections.
Especially at risk are those whose diabetes is poorly managed. But it turns out, the relationship between gum health and diabetes goes both ways, as research suggests that periodontal disease makes a diabetic’s blood sugar more difficult to regulate.
Periodontal Disease—the Link to Diabetes
Elevated sugar levels in a diabetic’s saliva promote increased bacterial growth and inhibit periodontal healing. Diabetes can also cause blood vessels to thicken and slow the blood flow to body tissues, like gums and jawbone. Important nutrients and harmful body tissue waste are regulated by blood flow. When it’s decreased, the gums and bones that support your teeth weaken, and bacteria from plaque can lead to infection more easily.
Advanced gum disease can increase your blood sugar level. For diabetics, this can be significantly harmful because it lengthens the amount of time their bodies function with higher blood sugar, putting them at higher risk for diabetic complications. Thus, diabetics who have periodontal disease should be treated to eliminate the periodontal infection.
Reducing Your Risk—Keeping Gums Healthy
Dr. Mays offers several periodontal disease treatments at her Richardson dental practice. Whether you suffer from diabetes or not, regular visits for cleanings and checkups help control oral plaque, bacteria, and infection. In addition, we provide our patients with:
- Advice for effective brushing and flossing techniques so gums and teeth stay healthy at home.
- Scaling and root planing, which removes decaying food particles under the gums and eradicates harmful bacteria.
- Topical antibiotic treatment to fight infection and restore periodontal health.
- Referrals to a periodontist (a gum-disease specialist) for surgical care or laser therapy, if necessary.
If you have diabetes and are concerned about its interaction with your oral health, call our office today to schedule a comprehensive periodontal exam with Dr. Adrienne Mays. Our office is here to keep you smiling.
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