Most of us know it’s important to regularly see the dentist. While our routine cleaning is important for obvious things like avoiding tartar and cavities, there are much bigger health concerns that can crop up if you don’t have a clean, healthy mouth. The gateway to our body is through our mouth, and when it’s not in balance or there are complications with plaque or gingivitis, there can be some catastrophic effects.
The Trouble with Periodontitis
New studies have found evidence to the long suspected link between periodontics and diabetes. We have over 300 different kinds of bacteria living in our mouths, and while some strands are beneficial for fighting disease, others are problematic when exacerbated, delving into a gum inflammation, which becomes gingivitis, and progresses into the incurable, chronic disease periodontitis. Not only is periodontitis unpleasant to live with, it’s a disease that can affect mortality in and of itself, as well as its negative affects on the body in other dangerous ways, such as through triggered immune system responses that escalate other, already existing inflammatory diseases.
What’s worse, most people don’t know they even have periodontal disease in the early stages. The symptoms are few and usually painless. In the U.S. periodontal disease is the most common infection that ails patients: a staggering 50 percent of adults over 30 have the condition, while 70 percent of adults over 65 are inflicted.
Diabetes and Periodontal Disease
The correlation between periodontal disease and type 2 diabetes makes a periodontitis diagnosis all the more troubling. Studies show that diabetics with periodontal disease have higher HbA1C levels than diabetics who are orally healthy. These periodontal diabetics had a harder time regulating blood sugar levels, which is probably due to periodontal disease’s tendency to elevate sugar levels. As a result, periodontitis patients have a greater risk for dysglycemia and insulin resistance.
Diabetes is a rampant problem in the United States. The rates of those with the condition is on a worrisome upslope; in 2017, more than 100 million people had diabetes or pre-diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those 100 million, 30.3 million were living with diabetes, while 84.1 million were at risk with pre-diabetes. Rates for pre-diabetes realizing a progression into full fledged diabetes is 70 percent, which happens within five years of a pre-diabetic diagnosis.
When periodontal disease was treated, patients found diabetic complications lessened, as well. Regular flossing, using a good toothbrush, following an oral hygiene regime recommended by your dentist, as well as regular visits to your dentist, keep gums healthy. If you have periodontitis, proper treatment keeps the condition under control, and your body healthy.