Let's take a look at the signs of gum disease first.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. You may also hear it referred to as periodontal disease. There are two different forms of gum disease:
Gingivitis - produces swollen gums that bleed easily when the teeth are brushed. Because gingivitis usually doesn't cause pain, many people don't get the treatment they need. It can also cause bad breath and very red gums.
Periodontitis - the worse of the two, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, causing gaps where bacteria can develop and damage the bone that supports the teeth. Gums can also shrink back from the teeth. This can make the teeth look longer. Teeth may become loose, fall out, or have to be extracted by a dentist.
It's important to understand the symptoms of gum disease so you can get aid as soon as possible at the first sign of trouble. Here are some common questions to consider when evaluating if you may have gum disease.
- Are your gums more red than normal?
- Are they swollen?
- Do your teeth feel loose?
- Does it look like your gums are separating from your teeth?
- Do you feel like you consistently have bad breath?
If you are experiencing these issues, or more, you should consult with your dentist as soon as possible to ensure the problems do not get worse. Typically the longer you wait, the worse the problems get and the more other issues can develop.
So how is diabetes linked to gum disease?
Now that we have established the symptoms of gum disease, let's next examine how gum disease can be linked to diabetes.
Slower, or inefficient, circulation: Diabetes slows the circulation of the blood by causing blood cells to thicken. The body's ability to ward of infections is reduced because of the reduced ability to carry nutrients to the tissue, as well as move waste away. This, in turn, can increase the risk of infections. Which also leads too...
Lower healing factor: Because of the poor blood flow, the ability to heal wounds is also reduced. Any necessary oral treatments needed to treat infections, or any surgery that is needed, will see a longer healing time.
Thrush: Utilizing an antibiotic is typically a solid course of action when battling an infection. When a person has diabetes, they are more prone to see fungus grow on their tongue (thrush). High sugar levels in the saliva is what this fungus utilizes, something people with diabetes typically have. This leads into...
A "burning" in the mouth: If your tongue or mouth feels like it's on fire, or if your tongue feels hot, it's probably a symptom of your thrush.
These are just a few of the things people with diabetes need to be concerned with when it comes to diabetes. There's even worse news for smokers: a person with diabetes who smokes is at a much higher risk to develop thrush or gum disease. This goes back to poor blood circulation and a hindered ability to heal damaged tissue.
This is the end of this two part blog. You can continue reading the second section here.