Treatment for Gum Disease
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
- Your age
- Your health and medical history
- How well you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- How long the condition is expected to last
- Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
- Tartar and plaque removal beneath the gums. Deep cleaning (also called scaling and root planing) can help remove the plaque beneath the gum. It can also remove infected tissue in the early stages of the disease and smooth the damaged root surfaces of the teeth. The gums can then reattach to the teeth.
- Your dentist may place antibiotics in the gum pockets or prescribe a pill.
- When the disease is advanced, your dentist will clean the infected areas under the gums. They will then reshape or replace the tissues. Types of surgeries include pocket reduction, periodontal regeneration, soft tissue graft, or crown lengthening.
Diabetes and Other Oral Problems
Diabetes can increase the risk of other oral problems, including:
- Thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth. It happens more often in people with diabetes because of high sugar levels in the saliva.
- Dry mouth. Dry mouth is often a symptom of diabetes. The mouth does not have enough saliva to keep itself wet. Saliva is needed to help digest food. It also prevents infection and tooth decay by controlling bacteria and fungi. Dry mouth can make tasting, chewing, and swallowing food difficult. It can also impede speech. In addition, dry mouth can cause mouth infections and tooth decay.
Symptoms of dry mouth include:
- Sticky saliva
- Dry mouth
- Dry lips
- Burning in the mouth or tongue
- Mouth sores or infection
Some tips to prevent dry mouth symptoms include:
- Take frequent sips of water or no-sugar fluids
- Avoid caffeine
- Drink fluids during meals
- Avoid spicy and salty foods
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol
- Use a humidifier at night
- Chew sugarless gum or sugarless candy
- Use a saliva substitute or an over-the-counter aid to help increase the flow of saliva
Always see your doctor or dentist for a diagnosis. Dry mouth can be due to reasons other than diabetes, like medicines, cancer treatment, and more.
Preventing Oral Problems
Proper care of teeth and gums can help prevent mouth problems linked with diabetes. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests the following:
- Brush twice daily with a soft nylon brush with rounded bristles and fluoride toothpaste.
- Use small, circular motions and short back-and-forth motions. Avoid hard back-and-forth motions.
- Brush the tongue often.
- Dental floss should be about 18 inches long with each daily use.
- Do not use a “sawing” motion in between the teeth.
- Curve the floss around each tooth. Scrape up and down several times, from below the gum to the top of the tooth.
- Rinse after flossing.
Learn about the signs and types of gum disease