Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among people with diabetes. Gum disease develops when bacteria is allowed to settle into your gums. Did you know that there are more bacteria in your mouth right now than there are people on Earth? Unfortunately, if a person has diabetes, they are at a higher risk of gum problems. Poor blood glucose control makes gum problems more likely. Below are a few facts about oral health for people with diabetes.
1. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease and other dental problems. Diabetes may weaken the mouth's natural germ-fighting powers. At the same time, gum disease can make diabetes harder to control.
2. While gum disease is the most common problem, having diabetes also makes the mouth prone to other problems such as oral infections, thrush, poor healing, and dry mouth. Good dental health can not only create a healthy mouth but a smile that will last a lifetime.
3. High blood glucose levels can actually cause gum disease to get worse. Like all infections, gum disease can be a factor in causing blood sugar levels to rise and make diabetes harder to control.
4. People with diabetes have special needs. People with diabetes should keep their dentist and dental hygienist informed of any changes in their condition and any medication they are taking.
5. Gum disease starts with plaque, caused by a buildup of germs, food, and saliva in the mouth. When plaque stays put, it hardens into tartar. If plaque and tartar are not cleaned away, even gentle brushing can cause gums to bleed. This is called gingivitis - the first stage of gum disease.
6. When gingivitis is overlooked or ignored, it can develop into the more severe form of gum disease known as peiodontitis. When this happens, the person may need gum surgery to save their teeth.
7. Often there are no signs of serious gum disease. Someone may not know they have it until they have serious problems. Regular dental visits are the best weapon.
8. And finally, some of the warning signs of possible gingivitis and more serious gum disease are bleeding gums or red, swollen, or tender gums. Additional signs might be bad breath, puss between teeth and gums, gums pulling away from the teeth, and loose permanent teeth. Gum disease is often painless so again regular dental visits are recommended.
With all this being said, the best advice to five a person with diabetes is to brush regularly, floss once if not twice daily, and to see their dentisit regularly.
References from Colgate Palmolive website