The Relationship Between Diabetes Mellitus and Tooth Loss

Diabetes mellitus is a non-communicable, chronic and systematic disease that affects people across the globe. Diabetic patients can be exposed to a number of medical complications such as eye-damage, cardiovascular disease, skin disease, neuropathy and periodontal disease.

The process by which periodontal disease takes place is very simple – unremoved plaque solidifies into tartar, gums begin to push away teeth and pockets develop between teeth and gums. The process is clearly devoid of pain so many people fail to understand that they are suffering from periodontitis. Periodontal disease is one of the prime reasons for tooth loss and causes gingivitis, an excessive inflammatory condition of periodontitis and gingiva that ultimately destroy periodontal bone, centum and ligament.

According to statistics more than half of the US population end up as victims of periodontal disease, and the number of diabetics suffering from the periodontal disease remains high, establishing a risk between diabetes and teeth breaking.

How is diabetes linked to increased risk of tooth loss?

Diabetes mellitus and tooth loss have a strong connection. Medical studies have found that if somebody has oral infection and inflammation along with any other infection it is quite hard to control blood glucose level. Periodontitis treatment helps in dropping the level of glycated hemoglobin – or A1C – helping to deliver better control of blood glucose levels.

The symptoms of oral disease can start showing even before somebody opts for diabetic treatment. Periodontal disease develops as a resistance to insulin intake and can also occur with higher levels of A1C which indicates a negligence of glycemic control of diabetes. Those suffering from type 2 diabetes are more prone to suffer from kidney problems due to this worsening situation. It is evident that high glucose level causes dry mouth and subsequent gum disease.

Medical research has shown that better glycemic control results in a reduction in levels of diabetes. Proper periodontal treatment can also reduce the risk, but patients should be aware of the link between diabetes and dental bone loss. Surgery can sometimes be an option, and in some cases, teeth need to be removed to prevent the infection from affecting the bone around the teeth. If you’re concerned about periodontal disease, book a consultation with your dentist.

The future risk

According to a report of World Health Organization (WHO),  the number of diabetic patients will increase from 221 million in 2010 to 300 million in 2025, so the risk to public oral health is significant. Research in the US also indicates patients suffering from diabetes lose twice many teeth as compared to people who do not have diabetes.

Thus, there is a growing need to make people aware of the prevalence of this disease. If the diabetic condition is not under control it can severely damage oral functions and tooth loss leading to further complications.

There is a need for early precaution to be taken against the spread of teeth loss from diabetes mellitus. It is advisable to regularly brush your teeth twice a day and to avoid or reduce your consumption of sugary food and tobacco. After every six months, patients should go for a dental check-up to ensure the sound condition of teeth.