Do you know why diabetes is of particular interest to dentists? At All Coast Dental in Pacific Beach, we regularly see people suffering from gingivitis, also known as inflammation of the gums. Although oral hygiene is necessary to prevent it, people with diabetes have particular struggles with gum disease and need extra care.
When people with diabetes have uncontrolled blood sugar, their immune systems are less effective at defeating infections. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum pockets, the parts of the gum tissue that cling to tooth roots. When the immune system detects disease, it triggers the inflammatory response, which isolates the bacteria and makes cell walls more permeable to chemicals that summon white blood cells. But inflammation also causes pain and discoloration, and if the infection is prolonged, chronic inflammation will weaken the integrity of the body’s tissues. It is less clear why high blood sugar makes the immune system less effective, although it could be due to the blood vessels becoming less permeable to nutrients.
Recent studies have shown that the presence of gum disease causes blood sugar to rise. This would create a vicious circle in diabetic patients, but it can be disrupted by dental treatment. At regular cleanings, we scrape decayed material out of patients’ gum pockets, preventing gingivitis from beginning. If you have diabetes and have noticed that your gums are red or bleeding, we encourage you to come in without delay.
Drs. Julie and Joseph Boulos operate All Coast Dental at 2180 Garnet Ave, Suite 1-K, Pacific Beach, California, 92109. To schedule an appointment, call 858-270-4904 or visit All Coast Dental and fill out a contact sheet.