Diabetes and Gum Disease

Dr. Jay Lopez of Tucson, Arizona wants to improve the overall health of his patients by improving their oral health. One of the closest links between oral health and systemic disease is the connection between gum disease and diabetes. This relationship is like a two-way street because diabetes significantly increases your susceptibility to gum disease, which in turn, makes your diabetes worse. Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, chronic gum inflammation will increase your risks associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, other inflammatory systemic diseases, and some cancers.

Extensive research over the last 20 years has demonstrated:

  • Diabetes is an inflammatory disease made worse by bacteria circulating in the body.
  • Diabetes makes it difficult for your body to fight infection, including gum disease.
  • Diabetics tend to have more occurrences of gum disease.
  • Diabetics tend to have more chronic gum disease.
  • Gum disease is a source of bacteria entering the bloodstream that contributes to inflammation throughout the body.

Despite this “bad news” cycle, research also has shown that:

  • If you control your blood sugars well, you will be less likely to have gum disease. That’s because when you have high blood sugar from diabetes, the saliva in your mouth contains more sugar that helps harmful germs and plaque grow.
  • Less gum disease means less bacteria to foster the diabetic inflammatory response.
  • And, regular periodic dental cleanings and speedy treatment of periodontitis, not only helps eliminate and prevent chronic gum disease but also improves the diabetic condition, cardiovascular system and other inflammatory diseases.

How can Dr. Lopez and his team help?

In addition to regular professional dental cleanings, periodontal health evaluations, and expert treatment for gum disease, Dr. Jay Lopez offers Oral DNA Testing via Oral DNA Labs (salivary diagnostics). With this simple and affordable testing, specific oral bacteria can be identified and treated with pathogen-specific antibiotics for more effective and faster treatment. Your genetic susceptibility to certain oral pathogens and immune system response to them can also be assessed from a sample of your saliva.

If you have active periodontitis or suffer from recurrent or chronic gum inflammation, oral DNA testing will allow Dr. Lopez to more effectively treat you with:

  • Periodontal deep cleaning
  • Application of localized antibiotics in gum pockets
  • Laser disinfection of gum pockets
  • A short-term dose of a bacteria-specific oral antibiotic
  • More frequent professional dental cleanings

If you have diabetes or are already at higher risk of developing diabetes, be mindful of the signs of gum disease—tender, puffy, red and/or bleeding gums. Our health-centered dental care helps diabetics keep gum disease under control, and in turn, helps keep blood sugar levels under control. We encourage you to give us a call today!


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