Gum disease and the risk of diabetes

It’s a common knowledge that diabetes can affect your heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes. But did you know that diabtes also affects your gums and thus your overall oral health and vice versa? The health of your gums may also affect the risk of developing diabetes according to a research. If you want to know how, just read on.

Diabetes mellitus is most common disease of the present population of the world. Unhealthy lifestyle, heredity, stress and junk food can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes but so does poor oral health.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two main gum diseases that come into play when talking of diabetes. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissue caused by the infection of bacterial deposition on the teeth in form of plaque. It causes bleeding and sore gums. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is the advanced stage of gingivitis when the bone supporting the teeth is also affected and there is a gradual loss of this bone support leading to eventual tooth loss. So, like any other infection and disease, gum disease affects your glycaemic control thus making it difficult for your body to keep the blood sugar levels at a normal level. Therefore, if your body is under the constant stress of this increased blood sugar level, diabetes is sure to follow. Hence, Diabetes and gum disease go hand in hand.

The vice versa is also true since people with diabetes are more prone to tooth loss due to gum disease. Your oral cavity is full of bacteria. These bacteria require sugar or glucose to survive. So, it’s a simple calculation that if the blood sugar levels are high, the bacteria have abundant sugar to thrive and thus this becomes a predisposing factor for gum disease. There is a second mechanism that also contributes to worsening of gum disease and that is thickening of arteries that is one of the complications of diabetes. This thickening reduces the immunity of gums and thus causing gum disease at the first available chance leading to periodontal pockets and abscess formation in gums.

However, the good news is that not all diabetic individuals are at high risk for gum disease. Even though diabetic individuals are three times more vulnerable to develop gum disease than non- diabetics, the extreme form of gum disease occurs only in people with uncontrolled diabetes.

So, maintenance of oral hygiene is an integral part of diabetes control and good oral hygiene practices go a long way in maintaining your overall health.

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