Did you know the health of your gums can affect your diabetes and blood sugar control?
Periodontal disease (gum disease) can have a major effect on your diabetes control, increasing the risk of diabetic complications. This is because periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation process, an infection that your body is constantly battling. People with active and unmanaged periodontal disease can have a sixfold increase in worsening diabetic control than those that do not have periodontal disease.
SO WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease or gum disease is the inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth due to bacterial infection. Plaque (that furry feeling) that builds up on our teeth is a collection of bacteria and bacteria waste products. Our gums do not like this and become red and inflamed and may bleed with brushing. If this is left unmanaged the plaque can form hard deposits known as calculus or tartar. Our gums like this even less and begin to shrink away taking the gums and bony support with them. The infection that you are fighting becomes worse.
If the periodontal disease is left unmanaged your teeth may be come loose and eventually fall out. If your diabetes is uncontrolled periodontal disease can increase 3 times faster than in a non-diabetic.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Periodontal disease is generally painless until the teeth become loose, so you need to be checking your gums carefully and regularly. Check to see if your gums bleed with brushing/flossing or biting into hard foods. The gums may look a little swollen and slightly red. Hard deposits may form around the base of the tooth nearest the gums. If your teeth are getting more gaps between them or becoming loose then you have advanced periodontal disease. People may also tell you that you have bad breath.
A dentist should check your teeth at least once a year to prevent periodontal disease happening. If you have active periodontal disease and diabetes you may need to see your dentist or hygienist more frequently to keep the gum disease under control. Learn more about regular dental check ups.
Diabetes control is a team effort between yourself, your diabetes co-ordinator, GP and dentist. If we work as a team we can help manage the diabetes and decrease the risk of diabetic complications.
You can find more advice on how to care for gums and teeth on our dental care pages.