Our mission at the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group in Austin is to restore the teeth of people who have lost them. But we also care about prevention, and we don’t want to see our patients have relapses of gum disease. People with diabetes are particularly at risk for gum disease-related tooth loss, so it’s important for them to understand how closely oral health and the rest of the body are linked.
Gingivitis is inflammation of gum tissue. It occurs when there is an infection in a gum pocket, which triggers the immune system’s inflammatory response. Inflammation limits the spread of disease and makes cells more permeable to chemicals that white blood cells rely on, but it is painful and can damage tissues if it is prolonged. People with diabetes get inflammation more often and have more difficulty fighting infections. It is unknown exactly why this is, but high blood sugar is known to cause arteries to thicken.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontal disease. At this point, the gum and jaw bone tissues are receding, leaving teeth vulnerable to coming loose. While we can replace teeth, implants need jaw bone tissue to fuse with. It is important for people with diabetes to get regular cleanings and periodontal therapy for tissue loss they have incurred. Fortunately, there is evidence that following treatment for gum disease, people with diabetes have an easier time regulating blood sugar.
Frederick Shaw, DDS, operates the Shoal Creek Prosthodontic Group at 1500 W 38th Street, Suite 34, Austin, Texas, 78731. To schedule an appointment, call 512-451-7491 or visit Frederick Shaw DDS and fill out a contact form.