Gum disease might seem like more of a nuisance than a serious medical condition. However, it can quickly lead to nasty symptoms such as bad breath, oral pain, and damage to the structures of your teeth and gums. At its worst, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and permanent gum damage. Knowing what factors can lead to gum disease can help you protect your oral health. In this blog, you will find out how diabetes, a relatively common condition, can influence the health of your gums.
Diabetes happens when your body is unable to regulate the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose is a sugar and a vital energy source for your cells. However, too much glucose circulating in your blood can do more harm than good.
For instance, high blood sugar levels can damage the inner lining of your blood vessels. The capillaries, which are the tiny blood vessels that supply your bodily tissues, gradually accumulate damage if you have uncontrolled diabetes. As they deteriorate, the supply of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues starts to decrease. Waste products also accumulate in the areas instead of being circulated out.
Over time, diabetes can cause insidious damage to several types of tissue. While extremities are most commonly affected, high blood sugar levels can also damage gum tissue. Standard maintenance procedures are disrupted, making your mouth more susceptible to bacterial attack. The damaged capillaries can also trigger long-lasting inflammation that can further damage your gums.
Diabetes also tends to weaken the immune system, partially because of the overall inflammation that the body experiences when glucose levels spike. Since bodily defenses are lowered, bacteria in your mouth are in a better position to spread and wreak havoc to your dental health.
Another complication of diabetes is that it helps supply bacteria with a food source. Elevated glucose levels in the blood tend to raise the amount of glucose in your saliva. Unfortunately, many types of bacteria get their energy from glucose.
With a readily available food supply, bacteria become better at multiplying and at evading your immune system. As they utilize glucose, they release acidic waste products that weaken your teeth and irritate your gums. The bacteria also form a resilient film on the surfaces of your mouth. This forms plaque that can solidify into tartar, which physically wedges gum tissue away from the teeth, opening up more areas to bacterial invasion.
Unfortunately, there is a two-way relationship between gum disease and diabetes. If you have high blood sugar levels, you are more at risk of developing gum disease. Dentists usually pay special attention to your oral health if you have diabetes since it is a significant risk factor. Conversely, if you already have gum disease, you also have an increased chance of getting diabetes, so you should consult with your primary care about it.
Experts agree that gum disease has effects that extend beyond the mouth. If a patient doesn’t receive proper treatment, gum disease can promote low-level inflammation that can spread to the body. Increased levels of inflammation can make metabolic disorders, such as diabetes, even more severe.
Diabetes has several mechanisms by which it affects oral health. If you already have diabetes, you must manage your blood sugar levels. Oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, are more critical than ever. Finally, you need to consult with a dentist, so you can catch gum disease in its early stages and seek treatment before it is too late.
Dr. Ernie Soto can help you manage your oral health. Our dentistry practice offers routine dental check-ups to detect gum disease as early as possible. If you already have the condition, we can help you get effective and comfortable treatment. For more information, call us at (954) 368-6264 or schedule an appointment now.