The Diabetes and Gum Disease Connection

Are you a diabetic or are you at risk for diabetes? Find out why you should pay special attention to the health of your gums.

The Diabetes and Gum Disease Connection

Whether you’re one of the 2.4 million Canadians affected by diabetes or one of the millions more who are at risk, it’s important to understand the relationship between high blood glucose levels and gum disease.

Gum disease ranks high among the many health complications faced by diabetics. In fact, diabetics are three to four times more likely to develop periodontal disease (bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments and bone that support your teeth) with a higher rate of more severe levels of bone loss and gum infection. This is because diabetics are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight the bacteria that invade the gums. In turn, serious gum disease can affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

If you’re diabetic or at risk of developing diabetes, watch for the warning signs below and work with your dentist and doctor to get the information you need to take control of your blood sugar and keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

Oral Health Warning Signs

  • Gums that are red, swollen, bleed easily and are tender to the touch
  • Gums that have receded
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose or separated teeth
  • Any change in your bite
  • Any change in the fit of dentures

Common Oral Problems Associated with Diabetes

  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease
  • Salivary gland dysfunction
  • Dry mouth
  • Fungal infections
  • Inflammatory skin disease
  • Infection and delayed healing
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Taste impairment
  • Oral surgery complications

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