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Each year, more people are getting diagnosed with diabetes as a result of rising obesity rates and inactive lifestyles. Doctors have been warning patients about a number of health issues associated with the condition, including the development of gum disease. The relationship between diabetes and gum disease works both ways, as having gum disease can increase the risk of diabetes, especially in combination with other risk factors, according to oral care manufacturers. Gum disease can raise blood sugar levels, causing the body to operate under such high levels for longer periods of time. That is why people are advised to check their blood sugar levels regularly.

brushing-teethThere are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. The former represents the early stage, and is characterized by red and swollen gums. The latter is the more advanced stage, where gums pull away from teeth, causing many problems including tooth loss. Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease because having the condition reduces the body’s ability to resist bacteria. A combination of high blood sugar levels and bacteria creates plaque, which buries itself underneath the gum line. This plaque then hardens, causing inflammation and discomfort.

Dr. Brit Phillips advises patients to take proper care of their oral hygiene, and to have regularly scheduled visits to check their mouth for bacteria pockets and plaque. What you can do in between visits? Brushing and flossing are a must to prevent gum disease.