Influence of systemic diseases on gum health

For the several thousands of patients who have diabetes, many may be surprised to learn about an unexpected complication associated with gum diseases. Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes, adding serious gum disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as eye disease, nerve diseases and kidney disease. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Like all infections, gum disease may be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise and may make diabetes harder to control. Other oral problems associated to diabetes include: thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and dental cavities.

When diabetes is poorly controlled, it can lead to or accelerate the development of gum diseases. Higher than normal blood glucose levels causes higher levels of glucose in the saliva and gum tissues which creates a fertile breeding ground for bacteria and in turn adversely affect dental treatment result. Therefore, it is necessary to bring down the blood sugar level to the normal range before attempting any sort of dental surgery.

First and foremost, blood glucose level should be kept under control. Teeth and gums should be under good home care along with regular dental checkups every six months. Smoking should be avoided and dentures, if any, should be removed and cleaned daily. Good blood glucose control can also help to relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes

While a relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe that infection caused by gum disease may be responsible for the association and may also worsen existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Last updated on 10 December, 2018.

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