Diabetes sufferers are well aware of the various related health problems which can be caused by the illness. One problem which often gets overlooked is the link between diabetes and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the general term for diseases of the mouth which affect the gums and the bones that hold the teeth. A high incidence of teeth and gum problems in diabetics has been directly linked to the disease and poor control of blood sugar levels.
Diabetes causes changes to the blood vessels and makes it difficult for the body to naturally remove waste from the body tissue and replace it with nutrients. Additionally the higher sugar levels can promote the growth of bacteria which can lead to gum disease. Adding to these problems caused by diabetes by having poor oral hygiene will soon cause gingivitis which is the first stage of periodontal disease. Diabetics who smoke are also much more likely to suffer from problems related to gum disease. It has been noted though that people with their diabetes under control will often have perfectly normal gums and teeth.
The second stage of periodontal disease that the diabetic usually suffers from is periodontitis, this is an infection of the bone around the teeth which causes the bone to deceay. If untreated the periodontitis will lead to loose teeth and eventually the loss of the teeth. In its initial mild form periodontitis is easily treated but if left untreated is can soon become advanced periodontitis which results in the loss of large areas of bone and teeth. Although periodontal disease can be very serious the diabetic can help to control it or indeed completely prevent it with care and a good oral hygiene routine.
The key to preventing periodontal disease is to adopt a rigorous oral hygiene route. Regular brushing after each meal and before bed time can help prevent the formation of plaque which can lead to gingivitis. The teeth should be flossed on a regular basis, many people do not floss correctly so it is imperative that you get your dentist to show you how it should be done. If the afternoon of periodontitis has already begun then the first step to curing it is to have all the plaque removed. In the early stages this is often enough to halt the disease and repair the damage. With proper diabetic control, a good oral hygiene routine and regular checkups diabetes and periodontal disease need not be a serious problem for the diabetic.