Most people are aware that diabetes harms their eyes, nervous system, kidneys and heart. However, they are less aware that it can also cause problems in their mouth. People with diabetes are at risk of gum disease: an infection that harms the gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place. Gum disease (periodontal disease) at its severe stage causes problems with chewing and leads to tooth loss.
Thickening blood vessels are a complication of diabetes, which is known to increase risk of gum disease. The blood vessels deliver nutrients to body tissues and remove waste products. Diabetes thickens the blood cells, disturbing the blood flow and removal of wastes. This can weaken the resistance of gums and bone tissue, making them prone to infection.
Many bacteria live on sugar. When diabetes is not controlled, the high level of sugar in mouth fluids help the accumulation and growth of germs which cause gum disease.
Research has shown that smoking increases the risk of diabetes; smokers are five times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. The risk becomes greater when smokers have diabetes. A smoker with diabetes, aged 45 and above, is 20 times more likely to develop gum disease than a person without these risk factors.
The key to preventing gum problems within diabetics is to control the blood sugar. Regular dental checkups, daily brushing and flossing, and controlled blood sugar prevents diabetic complications.
To avoid developing complications of diabetes see your dentist as soon as you can and plan a regular maintenance program. If you need the opinion of our dentists contact us on 020 8339 933 or email us at [email protected]