Did you know that your mouth can serve as a window to the rest of your body? Most systemic diseases – meaning diseases that affect the entire body and not just one area or organ – have symptoms that will manifest in the mouth. In other words, problems in your body can become problems for your teeth and gums. Diabetes are a prime example; if the condition isn’t addressed, it can put you at a higher risk of gum disease. A dentist in Corbin can tell you more about this surprising connection.
What are Diabetes and Gum Disease?
Diabetes is when the body fails to control blood sugar levels. Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is main source of energy from the food you eat. A hormone called insulin helps the cells take in glucose; if the body doesn’t make enough insulin, the glucose won’t be absorbed properly and will stay in the bloodstream, causing all sorts of health problems.
Gum disease occurs when bacteria in your mouth infects your gums. The earliest stage is called gingivitis; you might notice sum redness and swelling, or you could find blood on your dental floss. If gum disease isn’t treated quickly, gingivitis will become the much more severe periodontitis. The ultimate result could be the loss of your teeth and the spread of the infection.
How are Diabetes and Gum Disease Linked?
Recent studies have found that patients with undetected diabetes are at a higher risk of developing severe gum disease. This is because high sugar levels weaken your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to infection. In other words, not only is gum disease more likely to occur, but the body’s ability to fight it will be impaired, making the damage even worse than it might have been otherwise.
Furthermore, both diabetes and gum disease are considered risk factors for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. It’s therefore in your best interest to have both conditions diagnosed and treated as soon as possible; doing so just might save your life.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Gum Disease with Diabetes?
First of all, you’ll need to confirm that you have diabetes so that you can control it. If you’ve been feeling hungrier or thirstier than usual, have to go to the bathroom more often, suffer from dry mouth or itchy skin, or notice that cuts and sores are healing slowly, you should have your blood sugar levels checked by your regular doctor.
In the meantime, you can reduce the risk of gum disease in Corbin with excellent oral hygiene. That means brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antibiotic mouthwash. And of course, don’t forget to visit your dentist every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning.
About the Author
Dr. Katherine Whitaker serves patients and families across the Tri-County community and makes a point of giving all of her patients the warm respect and professionalism they deserve in their dental care. At her practice, Corbin Family Dental Care, she can perform periodontal therapy to treat those suffering from severe gum disease. To schedule an appointment, visit her website or call (606) 523-1415.