When someone has been diagnosed with diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes paramount. Type 2 diabetes can in fact often be managed with healthy living. Having said that, many health problems are common in diabetics, and this includes your teeth and gums. But how can diabetes compromise your oral health? And what's the best way to manage the potential impact of diabetes on your teeth and gums?

Blood Glucose and White Blood Cells

When your diabetes has caused a spike in your blood glucose levels, it interferes with your body's white blood cells and their ability to fight bacterial infections and heal wounds. Your diabetes can also impede your blood circulation, so key nutrients are not delivered to the parts of your body that require them, and again, this can reduce your body's natural ability to heal. This is why some dental problems that might not be a major issue in most people, such as gingivitis, can become more complicated in someone with diabetes. 

Periodontal Disease and Tooth Loss

Since gingivitis is a response to bacteria, someone with diabetes could easily experience their gingivitis escalating to periodontal disease, which can result in tooth loss. In fact, those with diabetes will lose twice as many teeth as someone not affected by diabetes. Gingivitis can often be reversed by improving your level of oral hygiene (generally including dietary changes), but it's not quite so simple for someone with diabetes, as the condition hinders your body's ability to fight the bacterial element of gingivitis. Consider the fact that some 42% of American adults already have periodontal disease, and you'll realize just how easy it is for untreated gingivitis to become periodontal disease.

Oral Hygiene and Dental Visits

Your diabetes means you need to be extra vigilant in maintaining your oral hygiene at home. You might also need to visit your dentist more often. Any amount of gingivitis must be treated before it has the opportunity to develop into actual periodontal disease, which requires more intensive treatment to preserve your teeth. Your dentist will perform a scaling and polishing, which is a professional, intensive cleaning. This will remove the accumulated plaque that can irritate the gingival pocket. This can help to halt the onset of gingivitis. 

While diabetes can impact your oral health, the problem can be stopped in its tracks if it's caught early enough. This is why it's so important to maintain the highest possible standard of oral care. Don't hesitate to contact dentists like Bradley Piotrowski, DDS, MSD, LLC if you suspect you're developing gingivitis.