Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: Managing Your Oral Health

People managing diabetes are faced with a myriad of health and wellness issues. Maintaining healthy glucose levels, minimizing weight gain, and following a healthy diet typically rank among their top priorities. It may come as something of a surprise, but periodontal disease has strong ties to diabetes. As a Vero Beach dental practice committed to oral health, these are things community members with diabetes and their loved ones should know.

Oral Health Risks Associated with Diabetes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 47.2 percent of adults 30 years and older have some level of periodontal disease. Our valued elders over the age of 65 experience gum disease at a rate of 70.1 percent. And the National Institute of Health determined “the risk of periodontitis is increased by approximately threefold in diabetic individuals compared with non-diabetic individuals.”

Those levels are unacceptable, given the impact periodontal disease has on your overall health and smile. These are the health issues associated with developing gum disease.

  • Gingivitis: Common in the earliest stages of periodontal disease, the gums become swollen and bleed. This invites infection.
  • Halitosis: A byproduct of poor oral hygiene, people suffering from some level of gum disease typically have bad breath. The odor can become a social hindrance.
  • Heart Disease: The cardiovascular system tends to have an adverse reaction to the inflammation associated with periodontal disease. It responds by increasing the levels of cholesterol flowing through the bloodstream. Bodies that naturally produce high levels of bad cholesterol are prone to clogging of the arteries. That’s how diabetes can end up being one of the root causes of heart attacks.
  • Irritable Bowel Disease: Although ongoing research is still underway, scientists are making a connection between gum disease and gastrointestinal disorders such as IBD. The current thinking is that periodontal disease tends to worsen these conditions.
  • Mental Health: When people lose their otherwise bright smile, they tend to become self-conscious about their appearance. The result of these feelings involves self-isolation, socialization issues, anxiety, and depression.

Some studies also link gum disease to conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and rectal cancer. The condition can also create health risks during pregnancy. These are reasons why community members with diabetes are advised to visit the dentist in Vero Beach FL and take proactive oral health measures.

Managing Oral Health with Diabetes

It’s essential to schedule and keep cleaning appointments with a dentist Vero Beach residents trust. Office visits provide an opportunity to evaluate your dental health and make adjustments if the telltale signs of periodontal disease present. Deep cleanings also clear away plaque that negatively affects teeth and gums. Practicing the following oral care measures is critically important to people managing diabetes.

  • Don’t Smoke: Tobacco use is known to increase the risk of periodontal disease, as well as oral cancer. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco products, and vaping.
  • Mouthwash Type: Antibacterial mouthwash may not be the best resource because it tends to eliminate good bacteria. Your oral health requires a balance of good bacteria to offset the bad. Consider alternatives such as baking soda and water. Check with your Vero Beach dental office before making changes.
  • Minimize Alcohol: Alcohol can also kill healthy bacteria. Chronic use negatively impacts the gums and has been linked to cancer in the mouth. The use of alcohol can also worsen diabetes and bring about issues such as nerve damage and sight impairment.
  • Daily Routines: People with diabetes are at greater risk of gum disease. That’s why flossing and brushing twice daily are absolute musts.

It’s also important to share the type of medications you use for diabetes and other conditions with a dentist in Vero Beach FL. Some prescription drugs can increase the risk of gum disease. That’s one of the reasons we take a whole-person approach to dental health and well-being at our Vero Beach dental practice.

Schedule An Appointment with Your Trusted Vero Beach Dental Office

Dr. Brown and his team of skilled hygienists are dedicated to educating Vero Beach community members about ways conditions such as diabetes are related to gum disease. We hope his information proves useful for you and your loved ones. Please schedule an appointment with us, so we can address any dental issues you might have.