August 3, 2019
Do you suffer from diabetes? Is it difficult for you to regulate your blood sugar? Are you noticing that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Surprisingly, new research states that there is a connection between patients who have gum disease in North Sarasota and diabetes. It’s hard enough living with one of these health-related problems, but when you combine them, you must find ways to manage both before they cause you to experience devastating effects. Find out how these two problems are connected and what you can do to protect your health.
How Are Diabetes and Gum Disease Linked?
According to Medical News Today, Dr. Anna Norhammar of the Karolinska Intitutet’s Department of Medicine in Solna, Sweden, led a team who studied the possible connection between undetected blood sugar disorders, also known as dysglycemia, and gum disease. Taking blood samples from participants, the team examined each participant’s blood sugar and their gum health. Half of the participants admitted they had experienced a heart attack and the other half were considered healthy.
Once they eliminated those who were diagnosed with diabetes, they discovered that individuals who had a heart attack were more likely to also have an undetected blood sugar disorder. Ultimately, they concluded that individuals who have dysglycemia are at a higher risk of developing severe periodontitis and experiencing a heart attack, especially if both are left untreated.
One of the most common complications of individuals with gum disease is diabetes. Why? Because a person’s immune system is much weaker and is unable to fight off infection. In fact, having even just one disease (gum disease or diabetes) makes you vulnerable to developing the other. People with diabetes have a harder time dealing with gum disease and any procedures that require healing, whereas, individuals with gum disease can have a difficult time controlling their blood glucose levels.
Dr. Norhammar suggests that individuals who are suffering from periodontitis have regular blood sugar tests conducted to determine if a patient might have undetected blood sugar disorders.
What Are Some Ways to Stay Healthy?
If you’re concerned about gum disease and/or diabetes, there are some steps you can take to manage and keep your health in the best of shape
- Monitor your blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about what levels are considered “normal,” and work to keep your glucose within that range.
- Brush your teeth in the morning, at night, and in between meals. Make sure you brush for two full minutes each time.
- Floss after every meal to remove any harmful bacteria or food particles that could lead to plaque buildup around the gum line.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth from tooth decay.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t apply too much pressure, as this can damage your gums.
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals. If you have a meal plan provided by your doctor or nutritionist, make sure to follow it, even when eating outside of the house.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and your salivary glands working. A dry mouth leads to bad breath, which can be problematic when it comes to gum disease and tooth decay.
- Discuss with your dentist in North Sarasota about using special products that prevent gum disease.
- Keep your regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist. If you have periodontitis, you can expect your appointments to be more frequent, as treatment must be more aggressive.
- Kick the habit and stop smoking.
There are ways to manage your diabetes and treat gum disease. By following the orders provided by your dentist and fellow doctors, you can maintain good oral and overall health throughout the course of your life.
About the Author
Dr. Warren Hoffman, DDS, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from SUNY Binghamton before going on to attend dental school in Baltimore, Maryland. Receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, he completed an externship during his senior year, providing dental services to stationed members of the United States Coast Guard in Honolulu, Hawaii. At Parkway Ridge Dental, he and his team of dental professionals want you to have a beautiful, healthy smile, which is why they offer periodontal therapy for individuals with gum disease. To learn how this common condition can affect more than just your oral health, or for questions about our services, contact us at (941) 358-8830.