If you don’t brush, floss and get your teeth professionally cleaned on a regular basis, plaque can build up along and under the gum line. In mild form, this gum disease is known as gingivitis. However, when left untreated it can progress into periodontal disease and do more significant damage to the bone and connective tissue responsible for holding your teeth in place.
Research suggests that those with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing severe gum disease. Making matters worse, diabetics suffering from periodontal disease are said to have a harder time keeping blood sugar levels controlled, which can ultimately contribute to the progression of diabetes.
To help avoid the double-edged sword of gum disease, diabetics are encouraged to adhere to a strict oral health regime of brushing, flossing, using mouthwash and visiting the dentist every six months. It is also imperative to remember gum disease may not appear until it is in an advanced stage. If you are a diabetic, be on the lookout for some of the symptoms outlined by the American Academy of Periodontology. These include tender, swollen or red gums; the appearance of blood when brushing and flossing; gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth; pus between gums and teeth; bad breath; and a change in how teeth (or partial dentures or bridges) fit together when biting.
If you notice any of these symptoms or haven’t been to the dentist in the last six months, consider making an appointment with your dental professional today.
Resources: The American Academy of Periodontology, American Diabetes Association and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.