In the last decade or so, it has become widely understood by medical professionals that the mouth is a window into the general health of a person. Many diseases and medications impact our oral health and conditions in the mouth can also have systemic effects in the body. In particular, periodontal disease has been shown to have a significant connection to diabetes.
When bacteria builds up on the teeth, it makes gums prone to infection. The immune system fights the infection and the gums become inflamed. Unless the infection is brought under control, the inflammation continues. That chronic inflammation has been shown to weaken the body’s ability to control blood sugar. For diabetics, this relationship is doubly troubling because diabetes damages the gum tissues, permitting gum disease to develop in the first place.
This circular connection can become a vicious cycle, but there is good news! The more proactive a patient is in treating one side of the equation can help improve the situation on the other side. Getting gum disease under control can help improve the management of diabetes.
Follow these tips to prevent periodontal disease.
- Brush thoroughly twice a day, including along the gum line.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Swish vigorously with mouthwash to remove any particles missed by brushing and flossing.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet low in starch and sugar.
- See your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.