November 29, 2015

Poor oral health habits can lead to a buildup of plaque and tartar around the teeth and gums. This sticky film can lead to gum disease, which can be detrimental to the health of your entire body. Gum disease dangers include an increased risk of stroke, respiratory disease and even heart failure. Recent research also suggests that gum disease is especially dangerous for diabetics. There is a reciprocal relationship between the two diseases that puts diabetic patients who contract gum disease at risk of entering a downward spiral of poor health.

A Two-Way Street

While doctors have long known that diabetics have an increased risk of developing gum disease, they now know that gum disease can make controlling blood sugar more difficult, as well. Two important factors are at play here:

  • Sugar Intake – Consuming too much sugar can make blood sugar levels spike, which impairs the body’s white blood cells, leaving them unable to effectively fight off infection. Sugar also contributes to the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Infectious Environment –People with diabetes often experience dry mouth, inflamed gums and poor healing, all factors which can increase oral infection. Poor oral hygiene also allows bacteria to flourish. An infection in the mouth can easily spread to the rest of the body, where it may ravage an already weak immune system.

Protect Against Gum Disease

Because the diseases feed off of one another, it is important to keep both your blood sugar and your oral health in check. To guard against infection:

  • Maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Brush and floss after every meal to remove plaque and tartar.
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups.
  • See your dentist at the first sign of bleeding or inflamed gums.

Schedule a Visit Today

Dr. Dan A. Knellinger is a general dentist in Palm Harbor, FL who is committed to personalized dental care that incorporates the newest techniques in dentistry. Call 727.475.5519 to book your appointment with Dr. Knellinger.



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