May 17, 2017
You are what you eat. No doubt you’ve heard the expression. And while the words are cliché, they are no less true. You can probably feel the difference after you’ve had a healthy meal vs. a meal of “empty” calories. But even before you take that first bite, the condition of your mouth can actually impact your overall health. There is something called the oral-systemic connection that substantiates the link between periodontal disease and the health of the rest of your body. One of the most notable connections is to diabetes. Read on to learn more about gum disease and diabetes from your dentist in Falls Church.
What is Periodontal Disease?
You’ve probably heard gingivitis mentioned in a commercial or in a magazine advertisement. But do really know what it is? Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum, disease. A bacterial infection, gum disease starts when the bacteria in your mouth combine with mucus and food particles to form plaque—that clear, sticky film you can sometimes feel when you run your tongue over your teeth.
Plaque is removable with regular brushing and flossing. However, if it is not consistently removed, then plaque begins to harden and become tartar. The bacteria in tartar can infect your gums. The resulting inflammation and bleeding gums is called gingivitis. At this stage, the disease may be reversible with a professional dental cleaning and more stringent oral hygiene care at home.
Sometimes, however, gum disease advances to become periodontitis. In addition to the inflammation that marks gingivitis, the symptoms of periodontitis also include:
- Receding gums
- Enlarged gum pockets around your teeth
- Destruction of alveolar bone
- Loosening teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between teeth
What’s the Connection between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
Doctors and dentists are not 100 percent certain why people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease than people who aren’t diabetic. One reason may be that diabetics are unfortunately more prone to infection. Some specialists think that gum disease is one of diabetes’ many complications. Uncontrolled diabetes drastically increase the risk for gingivitis and periodontitis.
Furthermore, having gum disease may make controlling blood sugar levels more difficult for the diabetic. Additional complications could develop with periodontitis because of the likelihood of an increase in blood sugar.
Contact Our Office Today
Taking care of your teeth and gums is always important, but perhaps even more so if you or a loved one has diabetes. In that case, maintaining a strict schedule of dental checkups is vital for your oral health and general well being. Call your general dentist in Falls Church to schedule a checkup or an appointment for gum disease therapy.
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