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Diabetes and Periodontal Health

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During the past 10 years, much research has been undertaken on the link between diabetes and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the sixth leading complication of diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop periodontal disease, with a higher rate of more severe levels of bone loss and gum infection.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums, ligaments, and bone that support your teeth and hold them in the jaw. If left untreated, you may experience tooth loss. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless microbial film that constantly forms on your teeth. Toxins (or poisons) produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums, causing infection.

Diabetes Control and Periodontal Treatment

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Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for you to control your blood sugar. Your body’s reaction to periodontal disease can increase your blood sugar level. Consequently, it is important for patients with diabetes to treat and eliminate periodontal infection for optimal diabetes control. Periodontal treatment combined with antibiotics has been shown to improve blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes, suggesting that treating periodontal disease could decrease insulin requirements.

Signs and symptoms of PERIODONTAL DISEASES:

  • Red and swollen gums that bleed often during brushing or flossing and are tender to the touch. ● Gums that have pulled away from the teeth, exposing the roots.
  • Milky white or yellowish plaque deposits, which are usually heaviest between the teeth.
  • Multiple periodontal abscess.
  • Pus between the teeth and gums accompanied by tenderness or swelling in the gum area.
  • A consistent foul, offensive odor from the mouth.

Keep your dentist up-to-date on your diabetic condition and your physician up-to-date on your oral condition.

If your diabetic condition is well controlled, periodontal treatment would be the same for you as for a patient without diabetes. In early stages, treatment usually involves removing the plaque and calculus from the pockets around your teeth. If the periodontal disease is more severe or if your diabetes is not well controlled, treatment will be more specialized and tailored toward your specific condition. Your dentist may recommend more frequent oral prophylaxis (dental cleanings) involving scaling and root planning or may recommend periodontal surgery. Prevention is better is than cure.

Dr. Akanksha Ostwal
Periodontist / General Dentist
Bahrain Specialist Hospital
Hospital Email: akanksha.ostwal@bsh.com.bh

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