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Understanding Diabetes Gum Problems

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is an illness that increases the risk for various health complications such as skin disorders, blindness, nerve damage, heart disease, kidney disease and gum disease. The condition denotes the body’s inability to produce or process insulin on its own, and therefore blood sugar is harder to control. Some types of diabetes are preventable, so taking care of yourself is an important part of reducing your risk.

How Does it Relate to Gum Disease?

Research suggests the relationship between diabetes and gum disease is a two-way street. Gums that are red, bleed easily or even recede from the teeth are all common symptoms of gum disease. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are more likely to contract gum disease because of increased susceptibility to infection and reduced ability to fight the germs that irritate the gums. At the same time, gum disease makes it difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar, leading to the potential progression of the disease.

What Can I Do?

If you are diabetic and want to prevent diabetes gum problems, you should begin with starting to control your blood glucose levels. Good oral habits should also be top of mind, include brushing for two minutes twice a day and using floss at least once a day. Even with these good habits, professional dental cleanings may need to be scheduled more often, every three to four months, in order to maintain oral wellness. Make sure you see your dentist if you experience any signs of gum disease – such as red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums, bad breath or loose teeth. Other oral health problems associated with diabetes include fungal infection and dry mouth.