Periodontitis- gum, or periodontal disease - involves inflammation and destruction of the tissues supporting and surrounding the teeth, including the gums and supporting bone. Periodontitis destroys the periodontal ligaments or connective tissue fibers that attach the tooth to the bone causing resorption (destruction) of the alveolar bone (tooth socket). Consequently, the gums swell, redden, change shape, bleed, teeth loosen and pus forms. With the loss of soft tissue and bony support, deep periodontal pockets may form that foster bacterial growth. The sad thing about all this is the fact that there is no pain involved in the process.
Diabetes is a complex disease with both vascular and metabolic components. A back and forth connection exists between diabetic control and oral infections. When gum disease (periodontal infection) is established, metabolic control of diabetes is worsened. When diabetes is worsened, gum disease progresses.
People with diabetes are twice as prone to gum disease. The link between diabetes and oral health can't be ignored (see The Scottsdale Project Report). In fact, dental problems in people with diabetes are so rampant that some believe oral disease should be referred to as "the sixth 'opathy' of diabetes," deserving of the attention given to retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy and the like.
Gums affected by gingivitis often bleed and are sensitive, but not always. Other signs include swollen gums, loose teeth, a bad taste in the mouth and persistent bad breath.
While everyone is prone to periodontitis, or diseases of the tissues surrounding the teeth and gums, people with diabetes often have more severe cases that can both cause and predict additional diabetic complications.
Dentistry and Diabetes
Some Facts about Diabetes
A recent government report (2007) indicates that the number of Americans with diabetes has grown to about 24 million people within the last two years, or roughly 8 percent of the
People are becoming more aware of the problem, as the percentage of people unaware that they have diabetes fell from 30 percent to 25 percent, according to the study.
The CDC estimates another 57 million people have blood sugar abnormalities called “pre-diabetes,” 12 million of whom are overweight and between the ages of 45–74. People with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet in the diabetic range have this condition that puts them at increased risk for developing diabetes. Doctors sometimes call this condition impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Insulin resistance and prediabetes usually have no symptoms. A person may have one or both conditions for several years without noticing anything. In the