What does gum disease have to do with diabetes?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults and is also frequently linked to the control of diabetes. The title sounds kind of odd doesn't it? But the fact remains that if you suffer from diabetes, chances are, your gums too would suffer. Most doctors who treat diabetic patients are either are unaware of the link between diabetes and gums or simply forget to mention it. The result is that problem with the gums are often overlooked or get misdiagnosed and mistreated.


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When diabetes is poorly managed, it can lead to periodontal diseases in both children and adults. It has been recorded as affecting children as young as 10. Periodontal disease and diabetes may be classified as those infections which affect the bone holding the teeth in place, and the gums.

Last week one of my clients missed his appointment with me and turned up three days later stating that he had to do a root canal. It struck me as odd because this client was always fastidious about his hygiene so I asked if his dentist had specifically identified any cavity or infection that might have necessitated such a procedure. He said no, but that my client had complained of sensitive teeth and hence the dentist felt a root canal would help. Sounded a bit shaky to me but I thought it best not to argue the issue further especially since the deed was done and nothing I said would either reverse or make my client feel better. Besides, I only had my client's version of events.

Fact is, diabetes specialists have often noted increased incidences of gum infection amongst diabetics. The high blood sugar levels typically found amongst diabetics makes it difficult for their body to ward off bacteria and infection that causes oral diseases.

There are three ways to keep the threat of oral infection at bay - good oral hygiene, keeping your blood sugar levels under control and, by taking antioxidant supplements. Antioxidant supplements such as vitamin "C", bioflavonoids and grape seed extract s help combat bacterial infections in the gums.

I would also recommend inclusion of currants, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries, oranges, grapefruit and tangerines in your diet. These provide antioxidant and bioflavonoids naturally. In fact, if you have enough of these in your daily diet, you need not take antioxidant supplements at all - just make sure you take them in their natural form and not as a juice or jam. Remember these fruits lose their antioxidant the moment they are peeled or crushed or processed.

If you notice your teeth have suddenly become sensitive ask yourself if you also have a cold or nasal infection - the two are interconnected. The moment your cold or nasal infection is cured, your teeth will be back to normal. If a procedure has been specified and you have some doubt about it, you can always seek a second opinion - it's your right. In all cases, maintain your hygiene. It is cheaper to maintain our hygiene than paying for expensive cures.

Check out for Type 2 diabetes information blog and What is normal blood sugar