It can be said that the way diabetes and periodontal disease (gum and bone degradation) affect one another is a two-way street. Thickening of blood vessels in diabetic patients affects the flow of harmful agents like bacteria away from gum tissues while also preventing beneficial nutrients from getting to them. Also, the saliva of poorly controlled diabetics exudes glucose which bacteria that cause disease use to flourish.

The less controlled the diabetes, the greater likelihood of periodontal disease. The greater the periodontal disease, the less likely that diabetics will be able to control their blood sugar levels. With periodontal disease comes bone loss. The greater the bone loss, the more plaque can accumulate in the “pockets” surrounding the teeth. The more plaque that accumulates, the less chance that the diabetic blood vessels can get rid of the bacteria in the plaque which ultimately leads to further bone loss and higher blood sugar levels.

This is a vicious cycle that can only be addressed with exceptional oral hygiene including regular dental and medical visits and careful attention to maintaining normal blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and often, medication(s).

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