The Link Between Diabetes And Periodontal Disease

There has been a great deal of study done on the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes. And those studies appear to bear out a connection that works both ways. In other words, the presence of periodontal disease increases troubles with managing their diabetic condition and the presence of diabetes will increase the likelihood of periodontal disease. Gum disease affects the control of blood sugar levels and uncontrolled blood sugar levels encourage the growth of infection. Because of this relationship it is imperative that people suffering from a diabetic condition get the appropriate treatment and learn to manage their blood sugar levels.

How Blood Sugar Levels Influence the Growth of Periodontal Infections

When a diabetic doesn’t work diligently to maintain the appropriate levels of sugar in their blood, the ability of white blood cells to prevent the growth of bacterial infection is weakened. This means that diabetics are more prone to suffering from infections, especially when the blood sugar isn’t kept under control. Periodontal disease, which leads to many teeth and gum problems, including receding gums, is an infection which thrives in the conditions that are part of a diabetic state. 
• Dry mouth
• Inflamed gums
• Slow healing of dental tissues

Of these conditions, the most serious is the gum inflammation. Along with affecting the white blood cells, the diabetic condition also leads to swollen blood vessels. As blood vessels become thicker, the flow of blood from the oral tissues is slowed. Both nutrients and harmful particles are harbored within the tissues of the mouth for far too long. Thus the inflammation leads to a greater possibility of the growth of infections and periodontitis becomes a much more serious problem.

How Gum Disease Can Exacerbate a Diabetic Condition

A diabetic who is struggling to stave off a periodontal disease will find that their struggle to control their blood sugar levels is much more difficult as well. This reciprocal relationship can become an aggressive cycle that leads to serious complications. The presence of periodontal infections will increase the amount of sugar in the blood and also increases the amount of time that diabetic individuals suffer from increased levels of blood sugar. A periodontal infection is a chronic infection meaning that it is a long term problem. 

One study found in the Journal of Periodontology showed that as periodontal infections were brought under control, the maintenance of blood sugar levels also improved.

There is Hope for Improvement

Prompt treatment and improved habits will mean a significant change for the better. 

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