Gum disease (periodontal disease or Periodontitis) is a possible complication of diabetes. The American Academy of Periodontology asserts on its website  that "People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because diabetics are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. Those people who don't have their diabetes under control are especially at risk." According to another report , undiagnosed or poorly managed diabetes may result into a number of gum diseases and related problems including loss of tooth, oral infections, dental carries, pain in the tongue and burning mouth, and poor healing of any wound in the mouth. Controlling and managing diabetes result into prevention of gum disease.
There are certain signs and symptoms of gum disease including the following:
- Persistent bad breath, continuous bad taste in mouth despite proper cleaning;
- Gums becoming abnormally red, swollen and tender; gums start receding;
- During and/ after brushing gums start to bleed;
- Teeth become loose;
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums - pockets are sites where the attachment has been gradually destroyed.
Causes & complicationsEdit
Gum disease develops slowly and without much notice. It begins with plaque which is an "invisible, sticky film" that forms on the teeth "when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria" normally found in the mouth. It hardens over a period of time and require professional assistance for removal. Forming and hardening of plaque results into slight irritation and inflammation in the gums, and eventually pockets of plaque, tartar and bacteria form between the gums and the teeth. The gum disease is now set with complications to result shortly if not treated properly. Apart from forming and hardening of plaque, there are other causes of gum disease including use of tobacco and drugs, nutritional deficiencies, certain hereditary factors, and hormonal changes. Diabetes is also one of the contributing cause for development of gum disease.
Gum disease can expose one to many other complications including the following:
- Uncontrolled blood sugar levels: Persons with diabetes are more prone to develop gum disease and related infections. With gum disease, it becomes still harder to manage and control blood sugar level withing normal range. This is due to the reason that gum infection reaches carry infectious materials to many parts of the body resulting into more requirement of insulin.
- Heart disease & stroke: Long-term serious gum disease puts one to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, A particular type of bacteria traves from mouth through bloodstream to the arteries in the heart. This causes a cycle of inflammation and narrowing of arteries which may trigger heart attack / other heart disease. Presence of certain bacteria s in mouth can make the affected person to develop blood clots that increase the risk of stroke.
- Complications of pregnancy: Gum disease also affect the pregnant women, and pregnant women are likely to give birth to to premature baby with low weight. The exact relationship between gum disease and and low birth weight of a baby is not known - it seems that gum infections inhibit the growth of fetus in the womb. This complications becomes more severe if the pregnant mother is suffering from diabetes. A pregnant woman with diabetes is also exposed to high risk of pregnancy problems too.
- Pneumonia: Gum disease has one another dimension - bacteria enters from mouth into lungs through inhalation in persons with serious gum disease. This may cause aspiration pneumonia.
Prevention & TreatmentEdit
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention - a regular schedule of good dental hygiene should become a way of lie: brushing the teeth in the morning and before going to bed and flossing at least once a day. Flossing before brushing is still better as it helps in cleaning away the small food particulars and bacteria from mouth, gums and teeth. Some of the other preventive measures include:
- Regular flossing:
- Using the right toothbrush:
- Brushing correctly:
- Eating a healthy diet:
- Dental consultations: