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How Does Diabetes Increase My Risk of Gum Disease?

How Does Diabetes Increase My Risk of Gum Disease?

Diabetes is a complex metabolic condition that not only affects blood sugar levels but can impact oral health. Specifically, diabetes can increase your risk of periodontal disease, or gum disease. 

Here’s what you need to know about diabetes and gum disease and how Dr. David Blaustein and the team here at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics, in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, can help. 

How diabetes increases your risk of gum disease

Elevated blood sugar affects oral health in many ways. Diabetes can:

Weaken your immune system

Diabetes can compromise your immune system's ability to defend against bacterial infections, including those affecting your gums.

Create an environment where bacteria thrive

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, providing an environment conducive to bacterial growth in your mouth. When this happens, it's easier for an infection to take hold.

Lead to reduced blood flow

Diabetes can impact blood circulation in your body, including your mouth. Inadequate blood flow hinders your gums' ability to heal and fight off infections, contributing to a heightened risk of gum disease.

Cause bodywide inflammation

Diabetes can trigger chronic inflammation, and inflamed gums (gingivitis) are an early sign of gum disease. In the earliest stages, you might notice your gums appear red or puffy. 

Lead to reduced collagen production

Diabetes can affect collagen production, a key component of gum tissue. Weakened collagen makes gums more vulnerable to infection and less resilient in the face of gum disease.

What you can do about gum disease

If you have diabetes, take steps to reduce your risk of gum disease, including: 

If you spot the signs of gum disease 一 the earliest sign of gingivitis is red, tender, or bleeding gums 一 seek treatment as quickly as possible. Gum disease is progressive, and if not treated properly, you risk complications such as bone atrophy and tooth loss.

Treatments for gum disease include antibiotics, nonsurgical root scaling and planing, medicated mouthwashes, and improved at-home hygiene. 

Prioritize your oral care

Diabetes doesn’t just increase your risk of gum disease. It increases your risk of dry mouth, cavities, thrush, and poor wound healing. 

As a fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Blaustein knows the importance of dental care when you have diabetes. If you have diabetes, let us know when you schedule a visit.

If you’re due for a cleaning or have concerns about your gum health, book your appointment at our Manhattan office today. Call us at 917-200-0219 or use our online form.

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