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Diabetes and periodontitis: a dangerous duo
Around 11 million people in Germany suffer from periodontitis. Diabetics are particularly badly affected. Health experts therefore advise these patients to maintain thorough oral hygiene and regular dental checks. It is also important to pay attention to blood sugar control to reduce the risk of periodontitis.
Periodontitis can lead to serious illnesses
According to experts, around 11 million people in Germany suffer from periodontitis. This chronic inflammation of the tooth structure not only damages the teeth, but can also cause life-threatening diseases, according to scientific studies. The germs can get into the bloodstream via the inflammatory foci in the gums and thus promote, among other things, vascular calcification or a heart attack.
People with diabetes lose more teeth
As the German Diabetes Society (DDG) reports in a recent release, patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes are particularly severely affected by periodontitis:
You are three times more likely to develop periodontitis and lose more teeth, while gum disease worsens your blood sugar levels.
The DDG therefore advises all diabetes patients on thorough oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. In addition, it is important to pay attention to blood sugar control to reduce the risk of periodontitis.
Smoking favors periodontitis
According to the DDG, periodontitis is the most common chronic disease worldwide. Bacterial plaque is the main trigger for the inflammation of the tooth retention system.
This leads to a superficial inflammation of the gums - gingivitis - which, if left untreated, can spread to periodontitis.
Smoking is one of the most common causes of periodontitis.
"In addition to poor oral hygiene, smoking, stress and genetic factors are the causes of this chronic inflammation," explains DDG President Professor Dr. med. Dirk Müller-Wieland. Another major risk factor is diabetes mellitus.
Disease rarely causes pain
"If the diabetes patient's blood sugar level is poorly adjusted, the risk of periodontitis increases significantly," emphasizes Müller-Wieland. "Gum treatment is also more complicated, the course of the disease is more difficult, and tooth loss is more common."
Conversely, periodontitis in turn worsens blood sugar control - with the depth of the gum pockets, the long-term blood sugar value increases.
As the communication goes on to say, research has shown that the mortality rate of periodontally ill diabetic patients is higher than that of people with healthy gums. The reason is inflammatory processes, which have a negative impact on the heart, among other things.
The difficult thing about the disease: periodontitis rarely causes pain. “It is therefore important. It is imperative to pay attention to the first warning signs such as bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, changes in the position of the teeth or loosened teeth, ”explains DDG expert Priv. Lecturer Dr. Erhard Siegel.
Proper oral hygiene
Proper oral hygiene can prevent this. Nothing is as good as regular brushing.
Dentists advise brushing your teeth at least twice a day. Best after breakfast and especially after dinner. According to experts, dental care is much more important in the evening than the next morning.
The optimal cleaning time is usually given as two to five minutes.
Until recently, experts assumed that after a meal with acidic or sugar-containing foods, you should wait half an hour before brushing your teeth, since the acid removes minerals from the tooth enamel and brushing makes the process even worse - tooth enamel is cleaned away .
However, dentists are now critically discussing this recommendation because the benefits of cleaning immediately after eating seem to outweigh the possible disadvantages.
Clean the interdental spaces properly
It should be borne in mind that the toothbrush only catches about 70 percent of the dirt deposits - the rest sits between the teeth. Therefore, you should properly clean the interdental spaces at least once a day.
Dental floss is best suited for this. However, you have to be careful not to injure your gums. Toothsticks, toothsticks or interdental brushes are also suitable as alternatives.
Mouthwashes also clean interdental spaces. To check your own cleaning success, you can occasionally use a coloring tablet that shows which areas have not been cleaned.
It depends on the right technology
Experts recommend that you always clean in the same order so that a routine is set and no area is forgotten. The so-called KAI technique is often recommended.
This means that first the occlusal surfaces, then the outer surfaces and then the inside of the teeth are cleaned.
It is always cleaned from red (gums) to white (teeth). According to dentists, shaking and painting is particularly useful.
A video can be found on the website of the Bundeszahnärztekammer, which explains in 60 seconds how the KAI system works.
Regular dental examinations
In addition, the DDG advises regular dental examinations to rule out any risk.
As the experts explain, the doctor can use the “Periodontal Screening Index” (PSI) to identify early forms of periodontitis and can treat them.
"Especially people with diabetes should go to the dentist for a check-up at least once a year," recommends Siegel.
Refraining from smoking, a balanced diet and avoiding obesity and stress can further reduce the risk of periodontitis.
More education and prevention
The German Society for Periodontology (DG Paro) provides a self-test online for an initial assessment of how high your own periodontitis risk is.
"Diabetologists, general practitioners and dentists should also be made increasingly aware of this topic," says Müller-Wieland. "Because in Germany about two million people do not know that they have diabetes and consequently have an increased risk of periodontitis."
All participating specialists are called upon to bring more information and prevention into their practices.
"For example, screening measures such as a diabetes test in dental practices or the inclusion of tooth status in the family doctor's medical history could ensure better prevention of periodontitis," says Siegel. (ad)