Oral Systemic Medicine
FACTS ABOUT GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, and pregnancy complications.
You can lower heart disease risk factors by having healthy gums!
Diabetics with gum disease have more trouble controling blood sugar levels!
Diabetics with good oral hygiene and regular professional care, can have good oral health!
Poor blood sugar control leads to increased gum disease and oral infections!
COMMON SIGNS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASES
- Bleeding Gums
- Red Swollen Gums
- Gum Recession
- Bacterial plaque (bilfilm)
- Gum Abscess
- Bad breath
- Burning sensation in mouth
- Dry mouth
- Delayed gum wound healing
Heart Health and GUM Disease
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about…emerging science is now telling us that bad breath really can kill you! Calling it the oral-systemic connection is the scientific way of saying that gum disease is the new risk factor for heart disease, strokes, diabetes, alzheimer’s, and pregnancy complications. Normally, inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off disease and injury. However, what can start out as a good thing can turn bad when it goes on too long. Chronic long-term inflammation (like gum disease) creates dangerous inflammatory proteins which circulate in the blood stream and cause other life-threatening medical problems. CRP (C-reactive protein) is made in the liver in response to chronic low-grade infections such as gum disease. Research is showing that it is more predictive of future heart attacks than is cholesterol. This is because CRP damages the inside lining of the blood vessels and creates blood clots. This makes CRP (as well as gum disease) a very important risk factor for heart disease. It’s called “Systemic Inflammation.”
Physicians and Dentists now work together with patients to control CRP levels, in part by insisting that they keep their mouths healthy and free from gum disease.
Diabetes and GUM Disease
People with diabetes already know that diabetes can harm their eyes, nerves, feet, kidneys, and heart. But did you know that diabetes can cause problems in the mouth? Scientific research has now confirmed that diabetics have a higher risk for gum disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is a chronic low-grade infection of the gums and bone around the teeth. Oral bacteria cause gum tissue to become infected and break down. Because diabetics tend to have more problems with infections and wound healing, gum disease represents a worrisome threat to both oral and general health. The good news is that diabetics who have regular dental care experience better control of their blood sugar, compared to other diabetics with gum disease. The bad news is that diabetics who are not in control of their blood sugar have gum disease more often than diabetics with good blood sugar control.
Type 2 diabetics have an increase in death rate from 3.7% to 28.4% (a 768% increase) when compairing diabetics with no gum disease and diabetics with severe gum disease, respectively. Periodonal disease is a strong predictor of death from heart and kidney disease. Diabetes Care 28:27-32, 2005.
If you have diabetes
- Talk with your dentist about your diabetes condition
- Inform your physician that you are working with a dentist
- Practice good daily oral hygiene
- Bring snacks as necessary, to control blood sugar
- Don’t schedule long dental appointments
- Bring glucose meters and insulin supplies to dental appointment, if necessary
- Eat prior to dental appointments
This makes the dentist and dental hygienists valuable members of the diabetic team. They work together with your physician, dietician, podiatrist, family and friends to assure that the mouth stays healthy and does not complicate blood sugar and the overall management of diabetes.