Diabetes rates have been going up across the United States, including here in Massachusetts. Why does a dentist in Reading, MA, care about this? It’s because of the connections between diabetes and gum disease.
If you or someone you love has diabetes, we hope you will pay particular attention to today’s posts. We want you to do the things that you should do to take care of your health and that includes your oral health.
We will be discussing the common symptoms of gum disease, how you can prevent and treat it, and how it relates to diabetes.
And remember that First Dental Associates is here to help you keep your mouth as healthy as it can be. You can request an appointment online or call 781-435-7290 to schedule a visit.
Diabetes And Gum Disease
In 1996, 3.8 percent of Massachusetts residents reported that they had been diagnosed with diabetes. In 2016, that had risen to 8.9 percent, according to America’s Health Rankings.
That means roughly 1 in 11 people in the Bay State know they have diabetes. (That also leaves a segment of the population who has diabetes but aren’t aware of it.)
Repeated studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease than the rest of the population. This doesn’t mean you will get gum disease if you have diabetes, but it does give you a good reason to pay close attention to your gum health.
While scientists and researchers are aware of this increased risk, they are still trying to determine the specific cause. One hypothesis has to do with dry mouth.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop dry mouth as well. And dry mouth makes it more likely that someone will develop gum disease.
It’s also important to note that there is some evidence that gum disease makes it more difficult to control blood sugar levels as well. This means that not only could diabetes increase your risk of gum disease, but having gum disease may make it more difficult to control your diabetes.
Keep reading or call 781-435-7290 to find out how First Dental Associates can help prevent and treat gum disease.
The Signs Of Gum Disease
Do you have red, swollen gums? Do your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, then there is a good chance that you have gingivitis.
This is a mild form or gum disease, and it will affect most people at some point in their lives. Many times it can be treated by being more deliberate about brushing and flossing every day. (Yes, you should still be doing both.)
If you ignore these signs, however, your gingivitis could turn into periodontitis. You should pay close attention to signs of this advanced form of gum disease:
▸ Gums that feel sore or tender
▸ Gums that bleed easily (more often than when you brush or floss)
▸ Gums that are receding or pulling away from your teeth
▸ Lingering bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
▸ Pus leaking from your gums
▸ Teeth that feel loose
That last symptom is particularly important. Gum disease (not tooth decay) is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. As your gums recede, more of your teeth are exposed. At the same time, the bacteria that cause gum disease can start to attack the bone that holds your teeth in place.
That is why your teeth can feel loose or fall out.
Our hope is that you will visit our dentist office in Reading, MA, before your gum disease gets to this point. Please call us at the earliest signs of periodontal disease so we can get you the treatment you need.
Gum Disease Treatment & Prevention
With gingivitis, the treatment is often the same thing you should be doing to prevent gum disease.
Brush your teeth twice daily to remove bacteria and plaque from the surface of your teeth on all sides. Also, floss daily between your teeth and gums to remove plaque and food particles that may be stuck in places your toothbrush can’t reach.
With time, you should notice less bleeding and less swollen gums.
If the bleeding continues, then you may already have periodontitis. You will need the help of dental professionals to treat this problem.
At our dentist office in Reading, MA, we can help with a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. In some cases, we also may prescribe Arestin®, which is an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that cause the infection.
Of course, it’s also a great idea to visit First Dental Associates for routine cleanings and examinations. This way, we can watch for any signs of gum disease and help you get treated faster.