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While you already know that periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, did you know that it can be caused by poorly controlled diabetes? Almost 30 million people in America have diabetes and are at greater risk of developing periodontal disease. According to the Diabetes Research Institute, it has also become a leading cause of death, and takes more lives today compared to breast cancer and AIDS combined.

As an oral health practitioner, you are in a unique position to impact your patient’s overall health and their oral health, particularly when it comes to educating your staff and patients about managing diabetes mellitus and periodontal disease.

Both diseases involve chronic inflammation where the biological mechanisms also involve the immune system and metabolism. Unfortunately, those with diabetes are at higher risk of periodontal disease which in turn can increase diabetic complications and increased blood sugar levels.

Because patients with diabetes are more prone to infections they are at increased risk for periodontal disease, particularly when diabetes remains uncontrolled. Likewise, gum disease can make it harder for diabetes patients to control their inflammation while also raising their diabetic complications.

Examining the Systemic Link
Because diabetes slows down the body’s circulation, it can make oral tissues more prone to infections by lowering the body’s resistance. Not only that, the high glucose levels in saliva encourage gum disease-causing bacteria to thrive. This can result in chronic gum infection, which if left untreated leads to bad breath, pain, bleeding of the gum tissue, problems with chewing, and ultimately, tooth loss.

Diabetes-related oral issues can also arise including thrush, dry mouth, oral ulcers, and cavities. Diabetes slows down the wound healing process, which affects those patients recovering from dental surgery, such as an impacted wisdom tooth extraction, dental implant, root canal, jaw surgery, for example.

Managing Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Patients need to first and foremost manage their diabetes by controlling their blood glucose levels. They will also benefit from stepping up their dental hygiene game with daily care and routine dental cleanings and checkups. Smokers will need to stop and those wearing dentures will want to remove and clean their dentures thoroughly every day.

If you want to be of greater assistance to your patients struggling with diabetes or periodontal disease, Dr. Jason C. Campbell recommends his rehabilitation course, Assessment For Diabetic-Associated Periodontal Disease. This course will train you in all you need to know about assessing diabetic-associated periodontal disease and how you can offer these patients the comprehensive, whole-body care they need. We invite you to call the Advanced Prosthetics Institute at 928-776-0239 today to learn more and register!