People who have diabetes are at higher risk of developing gum disease. When gum disease occurs in people who have diabetes, it can have a direct effect on their diabetes control. Here we’ll describe in more detail about how this vicious cycle works so you know exactly what’s at stake and how to prevent a condition that starts in your mouth, worsens your diabetes, and may potentially lead to a life-threatening series of catastrophic health events.
For people who have diabetes periodontal disease is typically worse than in people who don’t have diabetes. Research has confirmed that diabetes makes gum disease more severe. Other research indicates that gum disease may be a predictor for developing diabetes, but we’re not yet clear whether gum disease treatment can prevent diabetes development. However, that’s not a reason to put off treatment, because gum disease left untreated wreaks havoc in your mouth and is linked to other serious diseases. Treating it reduces inflammation levels in the body.
If you have diabetes, your gum disease is likely to include deeper pockets in the gums around the teeth, more loss of bone and more loss of the periodontal ligaments that connect the teeth to the alveolar bone. This is especially true for those whose diabetes is not under control and for those who’ve had diabetes for many years. The earlier a person develops diabetes and the longer they’ve had it, especially if they’ve had problems controlling it, the more susceptible they are to periodontal disease. And, once they get it, the more destructive it is. Illustrating the extent of how much more severe gum disease can be in people with diabetes, one study found that adults with diabetes have four times the alveolar bone loss from periodontal disease as those who don’t have diabetes. This is the bone structure that forms the pocket which cradles the tooth to keep it stable and healthy so it can do its job.
If you lose the bone you’re well on the way to losing the tooth. Studies show that adults with diabetes have higher rates of tooth loss from gum disease than those without diabetes. In fact, one study showed that toothlessness is 15 times higher in people with diabetes than in people who have not been diagnosed with diabetes. By that time, you’re also at much higher risk of systemic interactions with your diabetes that are significantly more serious threats to your health.
Another factor here is the issue of having healthy teeth so they can they can do the job they were designed to do and help you with your daily diet. How so? Well, it’s actually quite straightforward.
If you have healthier teeth you can eat a greater variety of foods, both the foods you like and the foods that are good for you which, ideally, are one and the same. Food choices made by people who have poor teeth tend to be softer so they cause less pain during chewing. Softer foods tend to be more dense in calories, fat and refined carbohydrates, which are readily converted into high levels of blood glucose.
When you have stronger teeth that give you the option of choosing firm foods, you are better able to follow dietary guidelines and include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. These tend to be lower in calories and fat, and they contain complex carbohydrates. It takes the digestive system more time to convert complex carbs into nutrients that the body can use for energy, and these nutrients enter the bloodstream more slowly