November 29, 2016

November is National Diabetes Awareness month, and here at the office of Dr. Gregg Codelli, that means helping patients to understand the role that oral healthcare can play in detecting and managing diabetes. Many people don’t realize that oral health and diabetes are related, but the fact is that some kinds of gum disease can be caused by diabetes, and even when it is not the cause, good diabetic control is linked to improvements in periodontal health. That’s why it is important for every patient to understand how the relationship between blood sugar problems and oral health operates.

Blood Sugar and Gum Disease

People with poor control over their blood sugar are more at risk for gum disease for a variety of reasons, but the ways the link operates are still being investigated. Some relationships are well-known, but the overall balance of underlying factors can be different from patient to patient. What we do know is that patients with poor control over their blood sugar lose more teeth and experience more long-term complications, whereas patients with good control over their blood sugar tend to have no more periodontal problems than patients without diabetes.

Here are the main reasons this is so, as far as current research has shown:

  • Thickening of the blood vessels during diabetes slows the delivery of nutrients and makes the gums more prone to infection.
  • Many kinds of bacteria thrive on sugars, and having high sugar levels can encourage them to develop.
  • Smoking can both increase the risk of gum disease and complicate other ways that diabetes influences the disease process.

Treating Diabetes and Gum Disease Together

Your physician needs to work with you to monitor your blood sugar levels, but bringing them into line with your doctor’s goals will help to mitigate periodontal problems that are related. You also need help building and maintaining an oral care regimen that fights periodontal disease, though. That might include antibiotics, gum tissue grafts, or a variety of other cosmetic and practical periodontal approaches. Contact us today to make an appointment with Dr. Codelli and find out which approach will work best for you.



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