Gum disease & Diabetes
Gum disease and diabetes are two closely linked diseases with increasing evidence showing they have the potential to interact and affect each other. Improving your gum health can help reduce the risk of diabetes and in those who already have diabetes, improve diabetic control and reduce the need for medication.
Gum disease affects as many as 85% of people over 65 to varying extents and if left untreated can rapidly lead to tooth loss. Diabetes affects around 1 in 6 people with approximately 4.5 million people in the UK estimated to have the disease. Of these 4.5 million people with gum disease around 1 million of these are undiagnosed*
The relationship between gum disease and diabetes
Whilst it has been known for many years that people with diabetes are at an increased risk of gum disease, it is only now more recently that we are seeing research that is showing how gum disease can actually make blood sugar control more difficult and actually increase peoples risk of getting diabetes or at the very least make existing diabetes more difficult to treat.
The facts about gum disease and diabetes**
People with diabetes who have severe gum disease have higher blood sugar levels, compared to people with diabetes who have healthy gums.
In people without diabetes, blood sugar levels were not as well controlled in patients with gum disease.
The worse the gum disease the more likely you are to go on to suffer damage to other organs such as your heart and kidneys s a result of diabetes.
Having gum disease may actually increase your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
How we can help you
Our periodontal (gum) team comprises of dentists, dental hygienists and dental therapists who have many years of experience and expertise in helping patients manage and improve their gum health and reduce their risk of diabetes and diabetes complications
If you are already diabetic
If you have already been diagnosed as being diabetic, good oral hygiene and healthy gums will help you minimise the risks of complications as a result of gum disease and can also help you to improve your blood sugar control. In fact improving your gum health could be as effective as adding a second drug/tablet to your diabetes medication. In people with mild type 2 diabetes simply improving the health of the gums combined with exercise, losing weight and a sensible diet may even be enough to avoid needing to take medication.
For those without or at risk of diabetes
We know that there are many factors involved in diabetes, including diet, age, weight, family history (genetics) and gum health. If you have any gum disease treating this along with losing weight and exercise can help reduce your risk of getting diabetes.
It’s never too late
It’s never too late to begin taking control of your oral hygiene and however bad you may think your teeth and gums are, we are sure we will have seen and helped people with much worse. If diagnosed early, gum disease is controllable and may even help reduce the risk of getting diabetes or improve the control of existing diabetes.
You don’t have to be a registered patient with us to see our periodontal team, in fact many patients come to us either as a self referral or on referral from their own dentist.
What can I do myself?
Good oral hygiene is the key to maintaining healthy gums, which starts with what you do at home and more specifically your oral hygiene (cleaning) routine. The plaque and bacteria that cause gum disease are soft and sticky and are easily removed with a toothbrush. Once the plaque has hardened its is called tartar or calculus and is nearly impossible to remove yourself.
Tooth brushing technique is one of the most important things, yet it always amazes us that very few people have ever been shown how to effectively brush their teeth. You can have the fanciest toothbrush in the world, but if you don’t know how to use if properly it will never work as effectively as it should! Letting us show you how to effectively clean your teeth will help prevent future problems and will also save you money in the longer term, as you will need to see us less.
It is important to remember that 30-40% of the gum and tooth surface is between your teeth, so if you are not using anything to clean in between your teeth such as interdental brushes or floss/tape you are missing up to 40% of the mouth
We are members of the BSP (British Society of Periodontology) which is the UK’s leading authority on gum disease and is at the forefront of advancing research and knowledge into gum disease. This gives us access to the latest publications, treatment guidelines and research to ensure we are treating our patients to the highest standards.
How do I book an appointment?
1. Register as a patient for your regular dental care. More details and a copy of our practice brochure can be found by clicking here.
2. See one of our hygiene team for an initial assessment (with direct access and our ‘Simply Dental Care’ programme you do not need to see a dentist to see a dental hygienist or dental therapist More details and prices can be found by clicking here.
3. If you have your own dentist, chat to them first, they may be able to refer you to see a hygienist at your own practice. If you have already seen a dental hygienist at your own practice and your gum disease is not improving your dentist can refer you to see us for more specialist help by clicking here.
*Diabetes Prevalence Model 2016 (Public Health England) and 2012 APHO Diabetes Prevalence Model
**British Society of Periodontology