Gum disease and diabetes: Are diabetics at risk of periodontis? Tips to avoid diabetes-related dental problems

New Delhi: Poor oral health can negatively affect your health in various forms. World Oral Health Day (WOHD), celebrated globally every year on 20 March, emphasises on the importance of optimal oral health in maintaining general health and well-being. This day spreads awareness about good oral hygiene practices among adults and children alike. But did you know that there is an association between gum disease and blood sugar control in people with diabetes?

Looks like your oral health is more important than you may think. Studies have shown that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis – a more severe form of gum disease – might play a role in some diseases, including diabetes. Common signs and symptoms of periodontitis may include sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, bad breath, loose teeth, tender or bleeding gums, etc.

The connection between diabetes and gum disease

According to the American Diabetes Association, there is evidence suggesting an increased prevalence of gum disease among people with diabetes. Like other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease, gum disease is linked to poor diabetic control.

Research has found that people with poor blood sugar control tend to get gum disease more often and more severely than those whose diabetes is well controlled. They also lose more teeth compared to patients with good blood sugar control. This happens because diabetics are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, as well as have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that may invade the gums.

Also, children who have IDDM (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus) are also found to be at a higher risk for gum problems. Therefore, good diabetic control is the best protection against periodontal disease, especially if you have diabetes.

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