Questions and Answers About
Diabetes and Gum Disease
1. What is the relationship between diabetes and gum disease?
Diabetics are a group of individuals who are at high risk for gum disease (periodontitis). Since healing in diabetics may be impaired, the amount and rate of destruction from periodontal disease may be more severe than what would be found in non-diabetics. There is scientific data that suggests that diabetes increases the risk of having periodontal disease. Poorly controlled insulin-dependent diabetics have destructive changes in the cells, blood vessels and supporting tissues.

2. Is there an impact that periodontal disease has on diabetes?
There have been scientific reports which show that in diabetics who have periodontal disease, the gum disease may negatively affect the ability to control the diabetes. One of the reasons is that with bacterial infections, the metabolism of the patient may be altered. This can create problems in controlling blood sugar levels.

3. Can the treatment of periodontal disease affect a patient's diabetic status?
Yes. It has been shown that antibiotic-enhanced treatments for periodontal disease can reduce the amount of blood sugar compounds which exist in the blood stream. Since chronic infections can have a negative impact on the ability to control the diabetic's metabolic status, it is logical to assume that the elimination of the infection should have a posititve effect on the blood sugar status.

4. What should a diabetic do regarding their concerns about the health of their gums?
Having a thorough examination of the gum tissues by a periodontist, a gum disease specialist, is the best way of determining the exact level of health which exists. This involves having a probing measurement of the area where the gum tissues meet the teeth, as well as taking a full series of x-rays. A superficial examination can readily overlook some of the deeper problems which may be developing.

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