Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Periodontal disease has been called the sixth complication of diabetes, especially when the condition is not under proper control.

Diabetes is characterized by excessive glucose in the blood. Type II diabetics can’t regulate insulin levels, which leads to excess glucose in the blood. Type I diabetics, on the other hand, do not produce any insulin at all. Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to heart disease and stroke – and there are connections to your dental health that are important to know.

What Is the Relationship Between Diabetes and Gum Disease?

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease can potentially worsen both conditions if either condition is not properly controlled.

Periodontitis and diabetes may be related through:

  • Increased blood sugar – Moderate and severe periodontal disease can elevate sugar levels, which increases the amount of time the body has to deal with high blood sugar. This makes it harder for diabetics with periodontitis to control their blood sugar. The higher sugar levels found in the mouth of diabetics also provides food for the very bacteria that worsen periodontal infections.
  • Smoking – Tobacco is bad for your oral health. It slows the healing process and increases the chances of developing periodontal disease. Diabetics who smoke are at a significantly greater risk for developing gum disease. In fact, diabetic smokers aged 45 and over are 20x more likely to develop periodontal disease.
  • Blood vessel thickening – People who suffer from diabetes are often concerned about thickening blood vessels. Blood vessels normally deliver nutrients and remove waste products from the body system, but with diabetes, the blood vessels become too thick for these exchanges to occur. This can weaken the resistance of gum tissue, leading to infection and gum disease.

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