For generations, many thought their oral health was disconnected from their overall health. However, we now know that what happens with your teeth and gum can have strong effects throughout your body.

Diabetes and Gum Disease

A good case in point is the mouth-body connection between diabetes and gum disease. Diabetes is a condition whereby your body cannot effectively regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucose is an important source of energy for your cells. If not regulated properly, the ups and downs of blood sugar levels can create the ideal environment for bacteria between the teeth and gums to grow. If diabetes isn’t well-controlled, and dental visits aren’t regular, the result can be gum disease.

Not Familiar with Gum Disease?

Half of the adult population in the United States has some form of gum disease. Prevalent, it is not as well treated as you would expect. Many symptoms are often ignored or commonly go unnoticed which is why regular visits to the dentist are vital to catching this condition.

When bacteria begin to build up around the gums, they can affect healthy gums as well as the tissue underneath. Without intervention by a periodontist, bone loss, gum recession and tooth loss may come next.

Defining Their Connection

Interestingly, some scientists wonder if the link between gum disease and diabetes might go both ways. As diabetes may create the perfect environment for gum disease, the presence of gum disease may also make it harder for the body to control blood sugars. Beyond questioning whether the chicken comes before the egg, it’s important to realize that gum disease and diabetes don’t mix, and proper oral and health care is key.

Lowering Your Risk of Gum Disease and Diabetes

Wondering how you can decrease the likelihood of gum disease? Start by watching for the warning signs, including chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth and painful, red, swollen or bleeding gums. If you notice any of these, contact our periodontist in Nashville, TN, Dr. Will Akin, for a personalized periodontal consultation.