We are worried about the rise in diabetes among Texans.
Why should we, a dentist office in Plano, TX, care about diabetes? Because people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease.
We would prefer to focus our efforts on gum disease prevention. But we also know that gum disease is much more common than it needs to be. Having diabetes makes your risk for periodontal disease even higher.
Fortunately for patients of Plano Smile Studio, we have the knowledge, the equipment, and the ability to treat gum disease in our office.
The Rise Of Diabetes
In 1997, only 3.7 percent of Texans reported that they had been diagnosed with diabetes. Since then, the diabetes rate has risen almost every year, according to data from America’s Health Rankings.
Last year, 11 percent of Texans reported that they had been told that they have diabetes.
To put this another way, in 1997 roughly 1 in 27 Texans had diabetes. Now, it’s closer to 1 in 9.
Researchers are aware that diabetics are more likely than non-diabetics to develop periodontal disease, which is why the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has a page devoted to dental tips for people with diabetes.
Researchers are still trying to understand the connections between diabetes and gum disease.
One possible reason is that diabetes causes dry mouth. This means you have less saliva in your mouth, and saliva plays an important role in your oral health.
Saliva helps to remove some of the bacteria that cause gum disease. It makes sense that if you have less saliva, then you would have a higher risk of oral health problems.
This also fits in with the fact that people with diabetes are more prone to mouth infections in general.
A Two-Way Problem?
While diabetes may increase your risk for gum disease, there is some concern that gum disease can affect your diabetes, too.
If you have diabetes, then you already know this affects your blood sugar.
So, you also will want to know that gum disease may make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels.
At this point, researchers don’t know if there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and gum disease. The evidence suggests there is, at least, a correlation, which is why having one should make you more concerned about the other.
Gum Disease Is Already Too Common
Even setting aside concerns about diabetes for a moment, gum disease could be considered an epidemic in the United States.
Among Americans 30 years old and older, 47.2 percent have some form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s practically half the adult population of our country.
Knowing that gum disease is already a problem and knowing that diabetes is on the rise in our state, we are concerned about the effect this could have on the overall oral health of our patients.
Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Everyone should take the time to learn the symptoms of gum disease, whether you have diabetes or not.
Mild gum disease is known as gingivitis. People with this condition have gums that appear red and swollen and gums that bleed easily. They may bleed while you are brushing or flossing your teeth (which is a sign that you should floss more often or possibly that you haven’t been flossing correctly).
Remember that you should be brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and you should be flossing every day. Make sure you clean between all your teeth and gums, including under your gumline.
This is also why you should visit Plano Smile Studios at least twice a year for routine cleanings. Our dental hygienist and dentist know the signs of gum disease, and we may be able to help you stop it before it develops into periodontitis.
This is an advanced form of gum disease, and the symptoms are more noticeable, too. Some of them are:
◼︎ Bleeding gums (that is, they may bleed more often than just when you brush and floss)
◼︎ Pain when you are chewing your food
◼︎ Pus leaking between your gums and teeth
◼︎ Gum recession (this is when your gums pull away from your teeth)
◼︎ Teeth that feel loose in your mouth
Your teeth may become loose — and even fall out — if your periodontitis starts to attack the bone that holds your teeth in your mouth.
If you have periodontitis, it will take more than a routine cleaning and extra flossing to fix the problem.
Get Help Right Away
If you have diabetes, you should take extra precautions to prevent gum disease. If you have symptoms of gum disease, especially periodontitis, please call Plano Smile Studio right away to schedule your treatment.
You don’t need your gum disease to cause any more oral health problems than it already has. Fill out our online form or call (972) 398-2550 to make an appointment at our dentist office in Plano, TX.