Diabetes and Gum Disease

by Dr. McBride

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

by Dr. McBride

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 U.S. population. The number of diabetics, who often use insulin pumps, has risen about 3 million over two years, says the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). Among adults, diabetes increased in both men and women and in all age groups, but still disproportionately affects the elderly. Almost 25 percent of the population 60 years and older had diabetes in 2007.
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 United States, approximately one of every three persons born in 2000 will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime. The lifetime risk of developing diabetes is even greater for ethnic minorities: two of every five African Americans and Hispanics, and one of two Hispanic females, will develop the disease.


I can not do this alone…

I certainly cannot do this alone. My staff has been selected for their expertise and health-centered values, and has chosen to continue the learning process along with me. They also see the potential for self-fulfillment through what we are able to offer our patients. They know that a health-centered practice offers the most opportunity for patients who value their own health, and each member of my team strives to optimize this process to allow for excellence in dental care. My staff “walks-the-talk,” having committed to their own dental and general health, which gives them a fuller realization of what we are able to offer our patients.

It is a sad fact that many people fear the dentist and suffer irreversible dental damage, not because of “poor genes,” but because they never had the opportunity to develop a quality relationship with a health-centered dentist. My hope is that in sharing a little about myself and by defining the three main modes of dentistry, it will help you understand the choices that you have. Like I said, it’s all out there…if you’re looking for the “drill and fill,” you can find it in the yellow pages. If you want just the “cleaning and whitening,” just pick up that flier that comes in the mail every week. But if you truly want a dentist who will take the time to get to know you, to listen to your needs and help you to make informed choices about your dental future, with a dedicated staff that provides excellent personal service (regardless of what the insurance company dictates), then our practice is the place for you.