If you suffer from diabetes, you might realize that your diabetes increases your risk of gum disease, but did you know that the opposite was true as well? Gum disease can make it harder for you to control your diabetes, which in turn leads to worse gum disease . . . it’s a spiral that can lead to permanent effects, including tooth loss.

How Diabetes Impacts Gum Disease

The amount of increase in gum disease risk depends on how well diabetes is controlled. With proper control of diabetes, there is virtually no effect. However, with poor diabetes control, risk of serious gum disease increases 2-3 times. And not only is the gum disease more serious, it’s likely to be found in more places in the mouth.

The primary mechanism that diabetes impacts gum disease with is an increase in systemic inflammation. Gum disease is an inflammatory condition, partly related to your body’s immune response, which can be exacerbated by diabetes. As a result, your body may experience more gum recession and bone loss with the same level of bacterial stress.

How Gum Disease Impacts Diabetes

As the severity of gum disease increases, it becomes harder to control glucose levels. In addition to making it harder to control diabetes, gum disease worsens the impact of diabetes on your body. People with moderate or severe gum disease were twice as likely to have macroalbuminuria, a condition in which your kidneys are unable to filter all the protein from your blood, among the signs of kidney failure. And, indeed, people with moderate gum disease were more than twice as likely to experience kidney failure. People with severe gum disease were nearly four times as likely to experience kidney failure, and those without teeth were nearly five times as likely.

Gum disease seems to have an impact on blood sugar levels even in healthy individuals, although the mechanism is not completely understood.

Treat Gum Disease for Better Diabetes Control

The good news is that treating gum disease can make it easier for diabetics to control blood sugar levels. On average, studies have shown that treating gum disease leads to a 0.4% decrease in blood sugar levels, which is significant in terms of reducing the risk of other complications.

One key to adequate diabetes control is prevention and treatment of gum disease. If you are looking for help controlling your gum disease, whether or not you have diabetes, please call (845) 627-7645 for an appointment with a Rockland County dentist at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack today.