Gum disease known as periodontitis is caused by an infection from germs and bacteria that live in your mouth. The bacteria can cause your teeth and gums to break down, causing a great amount of pain, and tooth loss. Although it is known that people with diabetes have more cases of gum disease than those without, new research suggests that having an infection in your tooth that leads to gum disease can raise even the healthiest of people’s blood sugar. This can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene.
Those germs in your mouth that exist because of poor dental hygiene don’t stay in your mouth all the time. The bacteria can absorb into your bloodstream during your normal routines such as chewing your food or brushing your teeth. Your body’s natural defense system kicks into gear to try and combat this foreign substance that has just entered your bloodstream. One of your body’s reactions to overcoming this foreign body is to raise your blood sugar.
Who is at Risk for Gum Disease and High Blood Sugar?
If you have diabetes, you are at a higher risk level for gum disease and if you have gum disease, you become prone to developing diabetes because of the affect bacteria in your blood stream has in raising your blood sugar for prolonged periods of time. Here are a few things to know about people with gum disease:
- People with severe gum disease have more significant long term struggles with blood sugar levels.
- They are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as gestational diabetes.
- People have a harder time managing their type 2 diabetes symptoms when they have a tooth infection.
- They are also at a higher risk of harming their kidneys, eyes, or any other organs affected by diabetes and also have a greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
As you can see, this can become a very serious thing if left unchecked, but there are plenty of ways to keep these bad things from happening.
Whether or not you have diabetes, gum disease, or tooth infections, it is a great idea to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about oral health, consult a dentist immediately, and get the knowledge required to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Here are a few things you can do to prevent gum disease and high blood sugar:
- Brush your teeth at least 3 times per day, especially after meals. Use a soft bristled brush and a mild fluoride toothpaste as recommended by your dentist.
- Clean in between your teeth with floss every time you brush or whenever possible. This is the only way to ensure you get your mouth as clean as possible, and to get rid of all of the germs that cause plaque.
- Visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
If you have type 2 diabetes, keeping your mouth healthy can help control your blood sugar, and promote overall good health. It may also lower your risk for problems such as blindness and kidney disease caused by diabetes.