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I wish my dentist had told me more about gum disease

Discussion in 'Diabetes Discussions' started by Jenny15, May 31, 2018.

  1. Jenny15

    Jenny15 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Here's something I wrote in a thread about donating blood, because doing that can increase the risk of teeth falling out in diabetics (apparently).

    Periodontal (gum) disease is a major risk for many diabetics. It's irreversible once it's progressed to a certain point. I only found this out once mine had gone too far. I was pretty angry with my dentists for never mentioning it.

    What happens is that high BG changes the environment in your mouth so that it becomes a tooth decay-promoting environment. Periodontal disease is caused by a very very low grade infection. It's pretty pointless trying to treat it with antibiotics. The only real way to prevent PD and it progression is to have fastidious dental hygiene practices.

    Most people aren't aware of its importance and don't have the energy to get it right year in and year out.

    The Pam Ayers poem I Wish I'd Looked After My Teeth springs to mind.

    There are other contributing factors to PD, such as needing medications that cause dry mouth. Saliva is protective of the teeth and gums. Saliva substitute products aren't very good. I sip water all the time. Other factors are smoking and heavy drinking.

    The end point of PD is that the retreat of the gums away from the teeth exposes nerve endings and you get real pain if these areas are accidentally touched. I need local anaesthetic around all of my teeth just to get them cleaned every 6 months.

    Eventually if you don't arrest the progression the retreat of the gums allows the infection to microscopically eat away at the face or jaw bone that holds each tooth snugly in place.

    Teeth get loose and eventually they can fall out or have to be removed.

    This is why some people have no or missing teeth. If they are unable to afford dentures or more expensive solutions, they stay that way. It is very sad because often they got PD through no fault of their own. Like me, they weren't told. They may also have mental or financial difficulties that become barriers to home care and regular dental care. Missing teeth can make it harder to get a job, so it is a vicious cycle.

    I hope this info is helpful to someone out there.
     
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  2. DavidGrahamJones

    DavidGrahamJones Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'd love to see the evidence or even an article that mentions it. I've looked, without success.
     
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  3. briped

    briped Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm in that boat too, I'm afraid. I've spent a huge amount of money on my teeth. I don't believe it's a well known 'side effect'. My dentist told me about it, but my GP had never heard of it.
     
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  4. Jenny15

    Jenny15 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I think that aspect of my post is probably better dealt with in the blood donation thread because the comment was made there. It's the first I've ever heard about it. I don't know that diabetes > blood donation > teeth falling out but I do know that diabetes can > periodontal disease, can > eventual tooth loss. So I felt it was an important topic to raise here.
     
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  5. briped

    briped Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Well, I haven't donated blood, but the gum disease is diabetes related, or so my dentist told me :sorry:
     
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  6. Jenny15

    Jenny15 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Dentists, like optometrists, often detect diabetes that a GP didn't bother to test for.
     
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  7. DavidGrahamJones

    DavidGrahamJones Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Your dentist is spot on. The following from an article "Diabetes and gum disease: the diabolic duo"
    Diabetes and periodontitis have long been linked in the dental literature but have never been substantiated. Periodontitis is an oral infection affecting the tooth-supporting tissues. Although the etiology for this condition is bacterial plaque, the host immune response may also mediate destruction of the periodontal tissues. Diabetes mellitus is intricately related to the development, progression and severity of periodontitis. The literature is abundant with studies depicting this association.

    Luckily my dentist and hygienist discussed this with me some time ago.
     
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  8. DavidGrahamJones

    DavidGrahamJones Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, couldn't find it and I used the search box at the top.
     
  9. Jenny15

    Jenny15 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    id love to read that article. its spot on
     
  10. Jenny15

    Jenny15 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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  11. briped

    briped Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    My dentist was spot on whenever she opened her (own) mouth! My GP, however, didn't know. Sad to say I can't afford the dentist anymore, so a couple of months ago, when I had an acute and painful problem, my DYI husband fixed it with a dental syringe and some chlorhexidine.
     
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  12. DavidGrahamJones

    DavidGrahamJones Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link, I gave blood for donkeys years before needing a transfusion and therefore barred from further donations. Seems when they can work out a test for CJD that doesn't require slicing up my brain, and I am clear of CJD, then I can donate up till I'm 70 and even beyond.

    No empirical evidence but my teeth and gums aren't too bad for my age (66 soon). My major tooth problem is the old fashioned fillings that seem to have "rusted" (not really, but ...), causing unseen cavities that aren't apparent until the tooth breaks. The last sentence says it all. I'll keep my eyes open for any connections.
     
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  13. hankjam

    hankjam Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    How much is gum disease a given to diabetics, is it a direct response to diabetes or something often associated with diabetes?

    At a recent check-up, every 6 months, my dentist told me she didn't need to do routine X-rays as she knew I was low carbing and that my teeth/gums were in great shape. Known her a long time... I taught her as a 1st year undergraduate.
     
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  14. briped

    briped Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    My personal experience, which is not much to go by statistically, is that while my BGs were under control so was my gum disease. Once I let go, back came the problems. This is many years ago, but as far as I remember I asked my dentist if there was any connection, but she told me no, and it was just a coincidence, and that the gum disease was very unpredictable, but I felt that maybe it was too much of a coincidence ...?
    Is it given to T2s? I don't know, but is it possible to make a poll here? Could be interesting.
     
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  15. pollensa

    pollensa · Guest

    Absolutely its helpful information thanks for sharing, I for one certainly will take this on board without doubt.

    Here in spain dont know if you have it in UK is the wonderful "airflow teeth clean which is non abrasive system" its fantastic, and gets right inbetween the teeth even if teeth close to each, by force of water jet, some dentists use this 6 monthly intervals some use with scrape before hand the two together, but I ensure I have a 3 months Airflow with its choice of flavours, strawberry, mint for example, due to this effectiveness, I believe the Airflow system have an updated and wonderful new system also regards PD patients, it is unique in the way it works i.e. deep cleans that normally as I hear not pleasant, but this system, takes that away as it uses the "flushing" high power jet system in the pocket of the tooth, you may like to check this system out in UK if its available, may be useful to know this system is available? Good luck and again thanks for great info
     
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  16. JohnEGreen

    JohnEGreen Other · Expert

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    Or have like me your parotid glands removed so vast reduction in saliva and associated protective enzymes and number of teeth so with diabetes added double whammy.

    Was not warned when Parotids removed due to tumors and was not warned where diabetes is concerned.
     
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  17. helensaramay

    helensaramay Type 1 · Expert

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    My understanding is that when we have high BG, especially for a prolonged period, our bodies look for ways to get rid of the sugar and "squirts" it out through most possible means: this is why weeing is a common symptom of diabetes; but so is gum disease as the sugar is coming out in our saliva.
    I also found my tears tasted sweet when I was first diagnosed.
     
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  18. dbr10

    dbr10 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes. DN told me it's too much glucose in the blood stream. It isn't. It's too much glucose in your whole body. Wish dentist had thought to suggest the possibility of diabetes when I had a bad tooth infection a few years back though.
     
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  19. Metabolism_Boss

    Metabolism_Boss Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I lost three teeth to sudden abscesses, by this I mean that I would ring to ask for an appointment in the morning because I was getting a twinge in a tooth. By the afternoon I was begging for an emergency appointment because I was in agony. I often wonder if this was a symptom of my diabetes. I have partial dentures now and I am very careful to clean them and my teeth after every meal. So far I've had no further problems.
     
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  20. dbr10

    dbr10 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    That sounds awful. Mine was nowhere near as bad.
     
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