We put a strong emphasis on preventative dental treatment at Leeds City Dentalcare as we believe it is better to prevent periodontal disease or gum disease from occurring, or to be able to treat it early before it can cause significant damage. Periodontal disease doesn’t only damage the teeth and gums, but can also affect general health. There have been numerous studies into the link between periodontal disease and overall health, and although many of the mechanisms aren’t yet known, there is a significant connection.
Gum disease is estimated to affect a large percentage of the population to some degree or other during their lifetime, and while it’s very easy for our Leeds dental surgery to treat it as a in the early stages, it becomes far more serious if allowed to develop into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition caused by toxins produced by plaque bacteria in the mouth. It can create open wounds in the mouth allowing plaque bacteria to enter the bloodstream where they can travel freely around the body, potentially creating further sites of inflammation.
A healthy person may be able to deal with the type of inflammation, as their immune system will respond to the attack. Someone whose general health is compromised is less able to fight off this inflammation. Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of other serious health conditions, including diabetes.
Periodontal Disease and Diabetes
Diabetes is becoming far more prevalent, and many diabetics will also suffer from some degree of gum disease, while up to a third will have periodontal disease. Diabetics aged over the age of 45 are nearly 3 times as likely to have severe periodontal disease compared to people without this condition. Diabetes is a systemic disease and it affects the whole body, weakening the immune system. One of the side effects of diabetes is that it can cause the blood vessels to become thickened which means the body is less able to transport essential nutrients to tissues to aid repair and healing. It’s also more difficult for toxins and waste products to be removed.A healthy person is more able to fight off periodontal disease but a diabetic is less able to do this and the problems it can cause can be quite considerable.
Once plaque bacteria enter the bloodstream they can make it more difficult for diabetics to control blood sugar levels. The reason for this isn’t exactly known but it’s thought the inflammation could increase insulin resistance. In addition a diabetic’s saliva may contain more glucose which only helps plaque bacteria to thrive. It really is a bit of a vicious cycle. Being in poor oral health can make it difficult or even painful to eat which again can make it tricky eat a balanced diet and to regulate blood sugar levels properly.
Taking Extra Care of Oral Health
Anyone who is diabetic may need to attend our Leeds surgery more frequently for checkups and cleanings. This will help our dentists pick up any signs of gum disease, hopefully before it can create significant problems. Regular cleanings help to reduce the number of plaque bacteria present in the mouth so there’s less chance they can create infection and inflammation. It is also vitally important to have a great daily oral hygiene routine which should include flossing. Diabetics with periodontal disease may find it very uncomfortable or even painful to floss, and may wish to try an alternative method of cleaning in between the teeth such as using a WaterPik. The dentist in Leeds dental surgery will be able to advise patients on the best method for them.
Diabetes isn’t the only condition to be linked to periodontal disease, as it’s also thought to have a connection with heart disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, and has even been linked to one recent study even linked it to impotence.