Gum Disease and Insulin Problems
Gum disease affects the supporting structures of the teeth. It occurs when plaque and bacteria are not regularly removed, and it can be associated with tooth and bone loss. According to a recent study that was published in “Diabetes Care,” the American Diabetes Association’s journal, gum disease may also be linked to insulin resistance and the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
The hormone insulin regulates blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is a condition that reduces the natural responsiveness to insulin, which leads to increased blood glucose levels. Higher blood glucose levels and increased resistance increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The study included more than 3,500 participants who were involved in the Continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They received fasting blood tests and periodontal exams. None of the participants had diabetes.
According to the study, deeper periodontal pockets were more likely to develop and worsen with insulin resistance. Participants with high white blood cell counts were also more likely to have deeper periodontal pockets. Periodontal pockets develop as gum disease progresses. The infection pushes the gums away from the teeth, which creates pockets that are difficult to clean and tend to accumulate even more plaque, tartar and bacteria.
Our Northridge dentist encourages good dental hygiene and regular dental checkups as the best ways to prevent gum disease. Brush twice a day, floss once a day and schedule professional cleanings at least twice a year. If you are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, you may need more frequent cleanings and checkups. Call our office to schedule yours today.