Diabetes is a more widespread issue in the United States than you may think. Did you know that 29.1 million people are living with it in the country? That’s 9.3% of Americans. Many people don’t even know that they have it yet. This condition affects your ability to process sugar. Another condition that is often linked to diabetes is periodontal disease, but how do they affect each other? Continue reading to learn the link between the two as well as how to prevent periodontal disease when you have diabetes.
What Is the Link Between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
The truth is that people who have diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease. In fact, nearly 22% of people who have diabetes also have gum disease. Especially as you get older, poor blood sugar affects your body’s ability to fight off infection, including in the mouth. This means, if you have gum disease, it will be much harder to combat it. Periodontal disease in its later stages can cause your blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes more difficult to control. In the end, both conditions become more serious.
How Can People with Diabetes Prevent Gum Disease?
For patients who have diabetes, it is especially important to take steps in order to prevent periodontal disease. When periodontitis is left untreated, it can lead to both loose teeth and tooth loss. Here are a few tips that can help you keep your gums healthy:
- Floss daily: Every single day, you should take the time to floss between each tooth. Slide up and down and back and forth in order to avoid bleeding.
- Brush your teeth and gums: For two minutes two times a day, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to get rid of plaque buildups. Move your brush across your teeth, gum line, and your gums.
- Clean your tongue: Whenever you brush your teeth, also give your tongue a scrub to get rid of bacteria. You can either use your toothbrush or invest in an inexpensive tool called a tongue scraper.
- Avoid sugary beverages: Drinks that are particularly sweet and acidic can erode the enamel of your teeth and cause decay. Remember to limit soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and water with lemon.
- See your dentist: Seeing your dentist twice a year is essential for optimal oral health. They are trained to pick up on early signs of gum disease so it can be treated with periodontal therapy before becoming too serious.
If you have diabetes, remember that it’s extra important to maintain the health of your gums. By following the tips listed above, you are well on your way towards a healthy smile.
About the Author
After serving four years in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Martin T. Barco III earned his DDS from the University of North Carolina. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Indiana Dental Association, Southern Indiana Dental Association, and the Spear Dental Study Club. For more information on maintaining a healthy smile or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barco at his office in Bloomington, visit his website or call (812) 332-8290.