November is National Diabetes Month, when communities across the United States raise awareness for a chronic condition that affects more than 30 million Americans.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, where the body doesn’t properly process sugar. This leads to high blood sugar levels — which in turn can cause complications with your heart, eyes, and kidneys.
It can also negatively affect the health of your gums. In fact, more than a fifth of people living with diabetes are affected by gum disease, according to the American Dental Association.
Read on to learn more about the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. Then, partner with the compassionate team at Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care in Quakertown, PA. Call us at (215) 804-4777 to schedule an appointment. Let’s work together toward better overall health!
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds your teeth. There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease, marked by inflamed or reddened gum tissue. It’s easy to treat and cure gingivitis. But if it’s not properly treated, it develops into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that roughly half of all adults live with.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily. Good brushing and flossing habits should not cause your gums to bleed.
- Red or swollen gums. Healthy gums should be a pinkish color. A rusty red hue to your gums could be a sign of gum disease.
- Bad breath or a bad taste that doesn’t go away. Gum disease is ultimately caused by bacterial buildup, which can generate an unpleasant taste or odor.
- Receding gums. In more severe cases of gum disease, gum tissue can begin to pull away from the teeth. Sometimes, “pockets” or gaps form between your teeth and your gumline, which leaves you susceptible to tooth decay.
- Loose or shifting teeth. Severe gum disease can cause the bony structures that support your teeth to deteriorate.
Left untreated, gum disease can increase your risk for health complications. It can also make your blood sugar levels more difficult to manage, which then causes gum disease to worsen.
Why Are People With Diabetes At An Increased Risk Of Gum Disease?
The American Diabetes Association describes the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes as a “two-way street.” People living with diabetes are just generally more susceptible to bacterial infection. And as with all infections, gum disease causes your blood sugar levels to rise, which then makes it more difficult to manage diabetes.
That’s why it’s so important to get both your gum disease and your blood sugar levels under control — if one worsens, so does the other.
In addition, unmanaged diabetes (as well as certain medications) can cause dry mouth, which fosters bacterial growth. Increased water intake, as well as rinses and artificial saliva, can help moisten the mouth and discourage bacterial buildup. This can decrease your chances of gum disease.
What Can People With Diabetes Do About Gum Disease?
A good way to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, as well as floss at least once a day. But the best ways to manage and even eradicate the infection that causes gum disease is to routinely see the dentist for checkups and exams.
Dr. Roeder and his knowledgeable staff have been trained to recognize the signs of gum disease so we can catch it early and treat it promptly. In some cases, a regular cleaning is enough to remove the bacterial buildup irritating your gums.
At Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care, we also offer nonsurgical gum disease treatment for moderate to severe cases.
For a more thorough cleaning of the gums, we perform a procedure called scaling and root planing. This involves cleaning the area around and below your gumline, and then carefully smoothing the roots of your teeth to discourage future bacterial buildup.
If you’re experiencing gum recession, Dr. Roeder can help repair the damage. Traditionally, gum recession is treated with a gum graft. This procedure involves taking healthy tissue and placing over the receded gumline to encourage growth of healthy tissue.
But Dr. Roeder can restore the appearance and health of your gumline without any sutures or surgical cutting using the Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique! He was among the first dentists in Pennsylvania to offer this innovation procedure.
When you come to Dream-Dentistry & Sleep Care for your Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique procedure, Dr. Roeder creates small holes in your gums. Then, he’ll use special tools to gently and carefully reposition your gums so that they better protect your teeth.
Let’s Work Together Toward Better Gum Health
Taking great care of your gums is important whether or not you have diabetes. But if you have diabetes, getting your gum health under control can make it easier to manage your blood sugar levels.