Causes of gum disease
Gum disease is more common in diabetes.
- High blood sugars boost the sugar levels in the saliva.
- Blood vessel disease caused by high blood sugars leads to poor blood flow to the gums.
- Lastly, diabetes can cause dry mouth.
All of these problems make mouth and gum infections more likely. Gum disease affects millions of Americans. It is blamed for 70% of all tooth loss in persons over the age of 40 years.
Stages of gum disease
- The first stage of this disease is a gum infection caused by plaque build-up. Signs include red, swollen gums that bleed easily.
- The second stage of gum disease is when plaque gets under the gums. The gum tissue pulls away from the tooth and the bone around the teeth is destroyed. Teeth become loose and chewing can be painful. Tooth loss can also occur.
You can prevent gum disease and save your teeth. Here's how:
- Take care of your diabetes. Aim for blood sugars of 80 mg/dl-120 mg/dl before meals, and 100 mg/dl-140 mg/dl at bedtime.
- Keep your Hemoglobin A1c at 7% or less (a 3 month average blood sugar test).
- Brush and floss daily
- Don't smoke
- If you wear dentures, make sure they fit properly.
- See your dentist at least twice a year.
If you have further questions about gum disease, contact your diabetes healthcare team.