Gum disease and diabetes….there is a link.
By Alison Logee, RDH, Ayurveda and Reiki Practitioner
Individuals living with diabetes are well aware that infections can easily occur within the body. Cuts and bruises can become infected very quickly; healing can be slow and can lead to complications and greater infection. Infections also include oral conditions such as gum and bone disease. Areas of bleeding gums are an open invitation to these kinds of complications. Untreated oral infections such as bone disease (periodontitis), can lead to long-term complications of diabetes. If oral infection is present it may make it more difficult for the diabetic to control metabolism and can impair their ability to process or use insulin. Therefore, improving oral health is important to the metabolic control of diabetes. Just as the physician closely monitors the diabetic patient for blood sugar levels and overall systemic health, it is important for the dental practitioner to monitor microbial imbalance in the oral cavity. Microbial balance will help to prevent diabetic complications, and even more importantly, will help to prevent oral infections that can increase the individual’s risk for diabetes. Some dental hygiene practices are well equipped to take samples of bacteria from the mouth for microbiology evaluation. This is one sure way of monitoring the oral flora. It is not an expensive process and most dental insurance companies will cover this kind of examination.