New research reported in HealthDay News says that one in five people who suffer from gum disease are also type-2 diabetics. The severe gum disease caused by diabetes is called periodontitis. This disease causes gum infections that result in swollen gums and deterioration of the bones that support your teeth. If you have diabetes, it's harder to fight off infections and inflammation, so daily brushing and flossing is critical for a healthy mouth.
Signs of Poor Oral Health
- Fruit-like odor from mouth
- Inflamed gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
How Gum Disease Can Lead to Other Health Problems
The reason gum disease is such a problem for diabetics is that their blood sugar levels are often high. This causes sugar to appear in saliva, as well. The sugar is a breeding ground for bacteria, which causes gum disease.
For diabetics, gum disease can lead to other health problems like heart disease, risk of stroke and respiratory diseases. The reason this happens is if it hurts to chew, your food choices are limited. This results in poor nutrition that often leads to erratic blood glucose levels.
Good Oral Hygiene Tips for Diabetics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting gum disease under control can actually lower blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes. Follow these simple oral hygiene tips to help you lower your risk of gum disease:
- Work with your doctor to regulate your blood sugar.
- Make sure you brush and floss every day.
- Let your dentist know if you're diabetic.
- Visit your dentist every six months.
- If you notice swollen gums, consult your dentist.
- Quit smoking if you're a smoker.
Dr. JoAnn Gurenlien of the American Dental Hygienist's Association recommends that anyone with diabetes should visit the dentist twice per year, as well as flossing and brushing twice every day.