Diabetes and Gum Disease: What you can do if you’re Diabetic!

Jamie J. Alexander on June 1, 2017

Our Boynton Beach area dental patients who have diabetes, or are at high risk of developing diabetes, have a fighter in their corner—Dr. Jamie J. Alexander.

One of the closest links between oral health and systemic disease is the connection between gum disease and diabetes. The relationship is a bidirectional one with diabetes significantly increasing the individual’s susceptibility to gum disease. Inflammation in the mouth leads to increased inflammation in the circulatory system, which in turn, increase blood sugar levels. Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic condition of gum inflammation will increase your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and a host of additional systemic diseases.

Why There Is a Close Connection

When you have high blood sugar from diabetes, the saliva in your mouth contains more sugar. This helps harmful germs and plaque grow. As plaque grows on your teeth and down tooth roots, bacterial infection irritates your gums and jawbone tissue, and harmful oral bacteria enter the bloodstream.

Diabetes and Gum Disease: Diabetics tend to have more chronic gum disease.

Unfortunately, diabetes and gum disease commonly go hand in hand with one another. A lot of research has been done over the last 20 years that shows diabetics not only have more incidences of gum disease flaring up, but also, tend to have a chronic inflammation going on in their gum tissue, which may or may not be severe. Chronic oral inflammation makes it more difficult for the body to fight infection. Imagine your body having to constantly battle infection and constantly attempt to restore organ function to normal equilibrium. Inflammation takes a toll on the body’s overall wellness and forces weak and damaged organs to work harder and sometimes fail.

I’m a Diabetic. What can I do about Diabetes and Gum Disease?

  • Increase the frequency of prophylactic dental cleanings. Visiting our dental office every two months for a thorough dental cleaning is not too often. When gum disease flares up, we will be able to diagnosis it early and can treat it effectively before it becomes worse or a chronic low-grade infection. 
  • Thoroughly clean your teeth and care for your gum tissue more than twice a day. In addition to brushing, string flossing and water flossing (in combination) should be done at least once, but preferably twice a day. 
  • Through a nutritional diet, regular blood testing, regular visits with your diabetes physician, and compliance with the medication regimen your physician prescribes for you, control your blood sugars well. When they are under control, you will be less likely to have gum disease.

Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth?

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, the bleeding is a sign of gum inflammation, in other words, gum disease. If you have tender, puffy, red and/or bleeding gums, you need to make a dental appointment immediately. Jamie J. Alexander, D.D.S. welcomes new patients and takes very special care of our patients with diabetes. We invite you to contact us today.