The Link Between Holiday Weight Gain and Periodontitis Part 2: Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Research has increasingly shown a strong connection between oral health and overall health. Considering that more than 47% of adults in the U.S. have periodontal (gum) disease, the connection merits serious examination. That’s why we’re continuing to look at the link between gum disease, diabetes and diet.

In part one of this series, we offered some helpful tips for healthy eating over the holidays. This is important for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes, whose well-being depends on careful attention to diet and blood sugar levels every day of the year.

Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Simply put, people with poor blood sugar control are more prone to periodontal disease—and also prone to more severe cases of it. Diabetes involves a thickening of blood vessels, which transports oxygen and nourishment to body tissues, including the mouth. These blood vessels also transport waste products away from those tissues. It is this thickening that slows the transportation process down and sets the stage for periodontal disease.1

Additionally, many kinds of bacteria thrive on sugars, including glucose, which is linked to diabetes. Higher glucose levels in mouth fluids gives an opportunity for germs to grow, which also sets the stage for gum disease. 1

Essentially, anything that helps control blood sugar and insulin metabolism may also be good for dental health. And that’s where diet plays a key role. The right combination of a healthy, balanced diet and smart lifestyle choices—proper sleep, exercise and stress management—will all contribute to healthier choices. Healthier choices lead to a healthier you—and of course, that includes your smile.

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