Oct 10, 2019

Damaged feet, eyes, and kidneys are all complications of poorly managed type 2 diabetes. But did you know that gum disease is another one? That’s right, if you’re diabetic, you’re much more likely to develop gum disease than those who aren’t diabetic. And, according to a recent study, there may be a link between taking care of your diabetes and gum disease levels. Read on as a dentist explains the study.

The results of the study

The study, conducted by researchers at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, looked at 90 patients with type 2 diabetes who received oral treatment for six months. During this time period, they underwent a control of glycated hemoglobin, as well as on the evolution of oral bacteria that can cause gum disease.

Researchers found that non-surgical gum disease treatment improved the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients. Not only that, but they found the reverse to be true: maintain excellent control of your blood sugar levels significantly decreases the likelihood that you will develop gum disease.

What does this mean for you?

This means that if you’re diabetic, you’ve got to take good care of your blood sugar levels in order to keep your gums disease-free. Of course, it’s a great idea to keep your condition under control anyway to avoid complications, but your dentist will thank you if you keep your mouth in good shape.

How can you do that? Simply follow these steps:

  • Eat a well-rounded and nutritious diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • Check your blood sugar as recommended by your doctor.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Drink in moderation, if at all.
  • See your doctor regularly.

How to keep gum disease at bay

Besides taking care of your diabetes, there are a few other things you can do to prevent gum disease, including:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke, or drink in excess.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals.
  • See your dentist once every six months for checkups and cleanings.

Taking care of your diabetes will benefit your dental health in the long run. Follow the steps listed above, and your teeth and gums will thank you!

About the author

Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya believes that the health of a person’s mouth plays an integral role in the health of their entire body. He treats people as people, not just mouths. He has also achieved Mastery level status in both restorative and cosmetic dentistry from Dr. Frank Spear at the Speak Institute.