Over 10 percent of the U.S. population have diabetes. It is listed 7th as the leading cause of death due to the vascular complications attributed to the disease.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by the body’s inability to properly secrete or manage insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
The prevalence of diabetes has increased dramatically over the past few decades and is expected to triple in the next decade. A report published by the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes is “a growing public health concern and a common chronic metabolic disease worldwide.”
The common types of diabetes are type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin-dependent). According to the American Diabetes Association, the majority of diabetics suffer from Type 2 diabetes with initial symptoms emerging after age 45. The percentage of adults with diabetes increases with age, now at 26.8 percent among adults aged 65 years or older. (https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf)
Prevalence estimates were 9.5 percent in 1999–2002 and 12 percent in 2013–2016. For Michigan adults, this upward tick has increased steadily, from 4.9 percent in 1994 to 9.8 percent in 2016. (https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/diabetes/DiabetesAtlas.html#)
There is a close connection between diabetes and periodontal disease, although the general public rarely associates one with the other. Initial indications of the disease are bad breath and bleeding gums. Too, research has shown that one can actually trigger the onset of the other.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory condition that can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere in the body. For example, other inflammatory diseases including high blood pressure, arthritis, and heart disease are also correlated to gum disease.
Periodontal disease is the 6th greatest complication of diabetes,. It has been found to be more frequent and severe in patients with diabetes with poor Glycemic control. Proper management of diabetes for controlled glucose levels is helpful in preventing or treating periodontal disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed when brushing, frequent bad breath, gum recession that expose dark tooth root sections and tender and/or swollen gums. As gum disease worsens, the gums will turn red in color, pus pockets may form at the base of teeth and teeth will eventually loosen. Gum disease is known as the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.
To protect your smile AND hence blood sugar levels, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises diabetics to:
• Keep gums as healthy as possible.
• Brush teeth gently twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
• Clean between teeth with floss daily.
• Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
• Have gums checked for signs of gum disease at every dental appointment.
In addition, it is important for any individual to be aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease. However, diabetics should be as proactive as possible when it comes to their oral health due to their particular vulnerability to inflammation in the body.
For our diabetic patients, we recommend dental check-ups every 3-4 months. If you have diabetes, call 586-739-2155 or tap here to arrange a periodontal examination at your earliest convenience. If preferred, begin with a no-charge consultation in our comfortable Shelby Township dental office to discuss your overall health and oral symptoms.
Please remember – Early evaluation is advised since gum disease will progress without treatment. Delayed care can result in more extensive treatment needs and greater expense.