November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and at Dr. Stypula’s office we are committed to educating our patients on the best ways to care for their gums, teeth and overall health. While no direct link has been discovered, experts believe there may be a correlation between diabetes and gum disease, and the problem may be a two way street. In an effort to minimize the effect that the two have on each other, we encourage you to inform your oral health professional about your condition from the beginning.
Your Mouth and Diabetes
More than 30 million people in the United States alone deal with diabetes, and thousands with diabetes in Pittsburgh, PA have a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar, also known as glucose, can cause infection, pain or other serious problems in the mouth. Your jaw, teeth, gums and tissues can all be affected by diabetes if it is not kept under control.
The saliva in your mouth contains glucose, and high levels can create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. Once these bacteria combine with food, they turn into a sticky, soft film called plaque. Plaque can come from certain types of foods and can also cause bad breath, gum disease, cavities and tooth decay.
As plaque develops on your teeth, it eats away at your gums, and eventually pockets form between the teeth and gums, filling with pus and infection. Left unchecked, these pockets can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, which then become loose and may eventually fall out. On the opposite end, the bacteria in the pockets can also make it difficult to keep your blood sugar under control.
What to Do
If you have diabetes and are planning a trip to the periodontist, always disclose your condition and any concerns you have. See your dentist at least twice a year for cleaning and exams, and always brush and floss daily. If you are undergoing a dental procedure, speak with your doctor beforehand to determine the best ways to keep your levels under control during the treatment.
Dr. Stypula is fully prepared to help you with a treatment plan that helps keep your mouth and your body healthy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.