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The link between periodontal disease and diabetes

Some ailments are correlated with periodontal disease, either aiding the development of the disease itself, or worsening its symptoms. For example, if you have  diabetes you have one of the  highest risks factors related to periodontal diseases.

But wait, isn’t periodontal disease caused by bad oral hygiene? Yes, that is correct in most cases, but diabetes can worsen a periodontal disease; and diabetic patients on average tend to have a higher risk of developing it or gingivitis if they aren’t extra careful.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which is unable to adequately process sugar, leading to high sugar levels in the bloodstream. The health risks associated with diabetes are many; suffice to say, it’s a very dangerous condition which, if not treated, can lead the death of the patient.

What does it have to do with periodontal disease?

Unfortunately, diabetes causes blood vessels to get thicker, which means that your body gets less nutrients and has a harder time disposing harmful waste; this directly affects gums, weakening and becoming susceptible to infections. The damage manifests as swelling and recession of the gum tissue, exposing the teeth and causing mouth bleeding.

The relation between diseases goes both ways. patients with periodontal disease have worse metabolic control;  the body has to allocate resources to fight off the infections caused by the periodontal disease.

If I have diabetes will I lose my teeth?

If you are a patient with diabetes; no, you won’t lose your teeth as long as:

  • you keep a good oral hygiene routine
  • get regular check ups
  • perhaps most importantly, make sure that your blood sugar is regulated.

What symptoms should I be on the lookout for?

First, check your gums to see if they are swollen; look for a reddish color (gums should be bright pink); and, apply gentle pressure with your fingers, if you experienced any discomfort, that’s a dead giveaway.

Second, check if you are bleeding; after you brush, pay attention to your toothbrush, and the water you rinse with; any reddish color is a symptom of mouth bleeding. And, if you wake up in the morning with a metallic taste in your mouth, you might have bled overnight.

Aside from those two, you also should pay attention to the following:

  • Do you notice your gums shrinking, or your teeth looking larger?
  • Are you experiencing halitosis?
  • Do you feel discomfort or pain when you food lodges between your teeth?

Any of those symptoms could be caused by periodontal diseases.


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