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Diabetes & Periodontal Disease

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. There are two types of diabetes: Type I is characterized by the inability to produce any insulin and Type II is characterized by the inability to regulate proper levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is released when blood sugar levels are too high. It essentially pushes glucose (sugar) into cells from the blood, therefore decreasing the overall blood sugar level. Food is converted into glucose and released into the bloodstream. The blood sugar is then absorbed by the cells, via insulin secretion, and used for energy. 12 to 14 million Americans are affected by diabetes. Periodontal disease is the 6th leading complication of diabetes.

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease is a two-way relationship: Research has revealed that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontal disease than those without diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetics are especially at risk. Periodontal disease can make it more challenging for those with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.

High glucose (sugar) levels in the saliva promote growth of the type of bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Diabetics with periodontal disease are more likely to experience increased glucose levels in their saliva, which makes it more difficult to control their overall blood glucose levels.

Furthermore, diabetics typically experience blood vessel changes. This decreases the overall efficiency of the flow of nutrients and makes it more difficult for waste removal from body tissues. This weakens the gums and supporting bone which makes them more susceptible to infection.

When periodontal disease goes untreated in a diabetic person, they are at a higher risk for developing long-term complications associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is especially important for diabetics to maintain proper oral hygiene and comply with regular periodontal cleaning appointments.

 
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