Did you know that November is American Diabetes Month? To show our support, here’s a post about the link between periodontal disease and diabetes.

If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, you might already know that there are risks of eventual bone and tooth loss if the infection is not brought under adequate control. But if you are also suffering from diabetes, the effects of the existing gum disease can extend way beyond your mouth. Let’s take a look at these two conditions and how treatment should be handled.

What can diabetes do to you?

Doctors have found that diabetes can cause an inflammatory response within your body. The disease will then develop either due to your body developing resistance to the effects of insulin or the body’s abated ability to produce enough insulin to balance your glucose levels within the bloodstream.

As a result, you might experience unusually high blood glucose levels that are also known as a condition called hyperglycemia. This triggers a form of chronic inflammation that inhibits your ability to heal properly when accident inflicts wounds. It can also induce coma, cause eye or kidney disease, increase your risks of heart disease or even cause death.

What can periodontal disease do to you?

Periodontal disease is a type of bacterial infection that can be caused by plaque that is a film of food remnants that accumulate on the surfaces of your tooth – mainly caused by poor oral hygiene habits. If the infection is allowed to spread and grow, the patient’s immune system will respond by directing immense amounts of antibodies to fight the infection. However, this will result in a persistent type of inflammation. It eventually damages the underlying bone tissue and gum and causes teeth and gum loss.

How diabetes and periodontal disease interact in your body

Diabetic inflammation can be worsened by gum disease and vice versa. The effects of an oral infection can add extra stress to the patient’s body that is already responding in an overloaded manner to diabetes. In turn, diabetes will compromise the patient’s immune system, and this leads to the increased severity of their gum disease.

Proper management of these conditions will deliver positive health effects

Through comprehensive research, results show that a patient who pursues disease management and treatment for either condition has a positive impact on managing the other too. Treating periodontal disease through surgery (if necessary), antibiotic therapy, plaque removal or with a renewed oral hygiene plan will dwindle the adverse effects oral infection has and reduce the body’s overall immune response. Likewise, treating diabetes through exercise, diet, medication and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking permanently can help to speed up the healing process for infected gum tissues.

An individual who is diabetic and has the periodontal disease should always opt for a coordinated approach on both fronts. By treating both conditions, there will be a more positive impact on their health in general. If you are seeing a dentist for periodontal disease, do remember to tell your dentist if you are also suffering from diabetes so that he or she can prescribe a better treatment plan to target both your medical and dental needs.