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Gum Disease and Diabetes

hands and blood suger monitorMany of our patients are surprised to learn that the medical condition of diabetes, whether it is type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, can contribute to having problems with gum disease. We are happy to review the science behind this and provide our patients with tips to help them navigate control of their oral health while battling this health issue. Our staff at Pine Belt Periodontics, PLLC can help with preventive steps and education to help.

It may surprise you to learn that the medical condition of diabetes can affect your gums. This is because of other conditions that come with having diabetes, including:
•  Higher Blood Sugar Levels: Diabetes can alter the fluids in your mouth, promoting the growth and even feeding decay causing bacteria, which leads to increased bacteria and the development of gum disease.
•  Decreased Saliva: In addition to altering the sugars in the fluids in your mouth, patients also experience decreased saliva production. Diabetes often leads to an enlargement of the salivary glands, reducing their ability to produce saliva at a normal rate. Saliva is a natural combat to sugars and food debris in our mouth, without it we are at higher risk of developing decay and disease.
•  Thickened Blood Vessels: Patients with diabetes experience thickened blood vessels, this is often noted in problems with their toes, but it can also affect other areas of the body, including the bone tissue that supports your teeth. Thickened blood vessels reduce both the flow of nutrients and the removal of waste from the body. Reduced blood flow weakens many areas of the body, including the gums and bone.
•  Higher Risk for Patients who Smoke: Patients who smoke while also battling diabetes elevate the risks and problems to a greater degree. The patient experiences even less saliva production as the heat of the intake of smoke evaporates the mouth. The blood vessels shrink even more, causing more distress and decreasing your body’s natural ability to heal.

Do I have gum disease?

We like to see our patients at least once a year for an evaluation of their teeth and gums. Patients with underlying conditions such as diabetes may want to be seen more often. Gum disease produces multiple symptoms that patients can see and feel. Symptoms of gum disease include:
•  List Bleeding: Your teeth and gums should not bleed, even when you floss. Bleeding gums is a symptom of irritation and the presence of an infection.
•  Recessed Tissue: If you can visually see that your gum tissue has receded, pulled back, or your teeth appear longer, this is a symptom of gum disease. Your gums are unable to fight the infection, so they respond with pulling away from the source of the infection. Unfortunately, when they pull away, they also pull away from supporting your teeth.
•  Red or Inflamed: Are your gums red, irritated looking or inflamed? They may even ache. Gum disease is an active bacterial infection, just as a cut on your knee gets red and irritated when infected, so does your gum tissue.
•  Sour Taste: Sometimes a patient may complain of a sour taste or smell, even when they have brushed. This sourness can emit from the infection brewing in your gum tissue.

If you have diabetes, we invite you to learn more about how it correlates with gum disease and what you can do to combat it. Our team at Pine Belt Periodontics, PLLC, can help.

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Pine Belt Periodontics, 9 Medical Blvd., Hattiesburg, MS 39401 • (601) 255-9929 • • 6/1/2023 • Key Phrases: Periodontist Hattiesburg MS •