Heart shaped bowl of fruit and vegtables near a blood sugar monitor, stethescope, and blood sugar chart

People with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, are more prone to gum disease than those without the condition. For the more than 100 million Americans with diabetes or pre-diabetes, an unexpected related condition is gum disease, or periodontitis.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes affects your body's ability to process sugar. With Type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin, and with Type 2 diabetes, your body stops responding to insulin altogether. Both conditions lead to high blood sugar levels. But while most people have heard diabetes can cause problems with the kidneys, eyes, kidneys, and other parts of the body, it often comes as a surprise that gum disease is another diabetes-related condition.

The warning signs of diabetes affect every part of your body and the condition can take a toll on your mouth in several ways:

  • You might notice less saliva, which causes your mouth to feel dryer and can lead to a higher number of cavities.
  • Bleeding gums, or gingivitis, can occur.
  • You might experience frequent mouth infections or delayed oral wound healing.

People with diabetes are more prone to gum disease because of poor blood sugar control. And as with all infections, gum disease can cause your blood sugar to rise, making the diabetes harder to control because you're more susceptible to infections and less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

The good news is that dental treatments such as a non-surgical deep cleaning can lead to a drop in blood sugar levels.

Adopt a Diabetes Dental Health Action Plan

Together with your dentist, you can keep your healthy smile and potentially slow the progression of diabetes. Take these five steps for optimal oral health.

  1. Control blood sugar levels. Be sure to use your diabetes medications as directed and maintain a healthy diet as recommended by your doctor. Controlling blood sugar levels also helps your body fight bacterial and or fungal infections in your mouth while relieving diabetes related dry mouth.
  2. Avoid smoking.
  3. If you wear dentures, be vigilant about cleaning them each day and night.
  4. Practice good home dental maintenance, brushing and flossing twice a day.
  5. Visit your dentist for twice-yearly checkups.

At Kanehl Dental, we understand that people with diabetes have specific needs and we’re well equipped to meet them. Be sure to let us know of any medication you might be taking for diabetes and if you've had any changes in your condition since your last checkup.

Protect Your Oral Health

Research shows that strong gums can help control your diabetes, making a healthy mouth an important part of good overall well-being. In fact, with proper prevention, it’s possible to have the same degree of oral health as those who don't have diabetes.

Preventing or managing gum disease is a team effort. Controlling your blood sugar, daily brushings and flossing, and regular dental checkups can all improve the success of periodontal treatment and lower your risks of experiencing other long-term complications.

Kanehl Dental offers comprehensive dental care, including twice yearly teeth cleanings. To learn more about the benefits of good oral health as it relates to diabetes, and to schedule an appointment, contact us today. We look forward to seeing your smile.