Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
About the Conditions
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., affecting nearly 26 million Americans. Diabetes causes the body not to produce or properly supply insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar (or glucose) into energy.
People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to develop periodontal disease than those without diabetes. Additionally, people with diabetes tend to experience more severe levels of bone loss and more aggressive disease activity.
The tooth loss seen as a result of severe untreated periodontal disease can make chewing and digesting food difficult, having a negative impact on a diabetic's ability to maintain proper nutrition and control his or her blood sugar levels. Periodontal disease also raises a person's systemic inflammatory signals, which increases blood sugar.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although a regular oral hygiene routine is important for everyone to follow, people with diabetes should be particularly diligent about how they care for their gums and teeth. People with diabetes should undergo a yearly comprehensive periodontal evaluation.
If periodontal disease is detected, a periodontist can provide treatment that can stop the disease and bring the gums back to a state of health, preventing additional bone or tooth loss. In fact, periodontal treatment has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes!
People with diabetes may want to schedule their dental appointments early in the morning after they have eaten a normal breakfast in order to stabilize blood sugar and prevent a severe or sudden drop in blood sugar levels.