The Link Existing between Gum Disease and Diabetes

People suffering with diabetes have an increased risk of contracting periodontal disease along with other oral problems than people without it. Diabetics come down with infections easier than other people do. Periodontal disease is one of the known side effects of living with this problem.

Research Studies

Studies like the one in the Journal of Periodontology stated that patients with type-2 diabetes that is not under control are at higher risk for contracting periodontal disease than patients with their diabetes under control. This on top of being at risk for the gum disease anyway means diabetics have more reason to control their disease than just their blood sugar.

Studies even show that the link between diabetes and periodontal disease is two-fold. Diabetes heightens the risk of the gum disease, while the gum disease interferes with diabetics controlling their blood sugar. In fact, the periodontal disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This means any diabetic suffering with this gum disease needs to have the condition treated quickly. A 1997 study in the Journal of Periodontology backs this up with the results of testing 113 Pima Indians who had periodontal disease and diabetes together. The results showed when the gum disease cleared up completely, the Indians found it easier to control their diabetes.

Information from Doug Brothwell

Doug Brothwell, a researcher with University of Manitoba states that people suffering from diabetes have approximately double to triple the risk of Periodontitis people without the disease. The idea is that since diabetics’ saliva contains more glucose that bacteria more easily grow on their teeth. This leads to the gums becoming infected. The infection then spreads to other cells making the body resistant to insulin, putting the type-2 diabetic at risk.

Brothwell states this turns into a vicious cycle. The diabetes makes the gum disease more serious, and then the severity of the gum disease makes the diabetes worse and the cycle goes on.

Dental Problems Diabetics Have a Higher Risk to Contract

There are many dental problems diabetics are at increased risk for, some of them are:

  • Slow healing after oral procedures. Diabetics have trouble healing in and out of the mouth. The areas do not always get the proper blood flowing to them to heal quickly.
  • Gum disease such as Periodontitis or the earlier stages of it namely gingivitis. These cause problems with the functioning of the white blood cells, which complicates the healing process. They also thicken the blood vessels, this can adversely affect the nutrient flow to the body tissues, and this includes the mouth. These diseases also hamper the waste products being flushed from the system. All these things make it difficult for diabetics to fight any infection they get.
  • Diabetes when left untreated causes a decrease in the flow of saliva, which leads to dry mouth. Dry mouth causes tooth decay, gum disease and other infections. The purpose of saliva in part is to keep the mouth clean, without it bacteria grows at a faster rate.
  • Diabetics have a risk of contracting thrush if they have to take antibiotics too often for curing other diseases. This is a fungal infection in the area of the tongue and mouth.

It is easy to see the link between diabetes and gum disease with this information. Diabetics even more so than everyone else need a proper oral care regimen, including daily brushing, flossing and regular dentals checkups.

James Alban provides articles and information on various dental and health issues. You need to click on his website for further information on gum disease, halitosis and other health issues.

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