In the Philippines, there are more than 3.4 million Filipinos diagnosed with diabetes and this number is projected to grow to 6.16 million in 2030. While these people are also two to four times more likely to die of heart disease than people without diabetes, they are likewise candidates for a severe gum disease.
Diabetic patients endure the unsweetened taste of food. While they keep their blood sugar under control, they are at an increased risk of periodontal disease, which causes the teeth to wear off.
According to the Department of Health, nine out of ten Filipinos are suffering from periodontal disease, a severe form of gum disease that tends to pull the teeth away from the gums. Also known as periodontitis, this manifests through excessive plaque formation, bad breath, painful chewing, swelling of the gums, and bleeding of the gums during flossing or brushing.
When periodontitis occurs, the gum infection damages the soft tissue and the bone that support the teeth. Dr. Angelica Beatriz De Castro, a general dentist from Healthway Medical, said that neither age nor gender could prevent a person from acquiring the disease.
“Anybody can be a candidate for periodontitis,” Dr. De Castro said. “If one does not go to the dentist regularly, then there’s plaque accumulation or food stuck between the teeth and the gums that may result to gingivitis.”
According to Dr. De Castro, gingivitis is the first stage of periodontitis. If plaque is not removed immediately, “irritants may go deeper to the gum tissue and cause bone loss.”
“Periodontitis is a precursor to diabetes. It usually releases periodontal pathogens that trigger abnormal insulin production,” Dr. De Castro added. “Once you have diabetes, it is more likely to have periodontitis.”
Diabetes reduces a person’s ability to fight bacteria. When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, it leads to the formation of plaque. This plaque will harden and will spread through the gum line, making it harder to clean.
When this happens, diabetic patients with periodontitis will find it hard to resist infection and slow the healing process when they accidentally hit the wrong spot in the mouth, causing the gums to bleed. This infection may also trigger the blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes levels more difficult to control.
Dr. De Castro said that, unfortunately, diabetic patients with periodontitis cannot self-medicate to treat the disease.
“Periodontitis is only treatable if you clean the area of the teeth and take out the irritant itself. Usually, it’s not seen above the gums; it's actually beneath and below the gum line,” Dr. De Castro said. “If regular patients visit their dentists twice a year, those who have periodontitis need to come at least three times a year to monitor [the condition].”
Carmie de Leon, vice president for sales and marketing of Healthway Medical, said that
while it is important for diabetic patients to keep a close watch on their daily food intake, it is equally important to maintain healthy oral practices to prevent plaque formation.
Whether you’re a type 1 or type 2 diabetes patient, preventing periodontitis may help in managing your blood sugar levels. This is why Healthway Medical—the most trusted and preferred mall-based clinics in the Philippines—suggests the most important considerations every diabetic patient must follow to prevent the severe gum disorder.
For a holistic mouth care while keeping your diabetes at bay, you’ll need to make a commitment to managing your diabetes.
“When you are able to control your sugar intake, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis,” de Leon said. “Aside from this, you also need to brush your teeth lightly at least twice a day, floss at least once daily, schedule regular dental cleaning, prevent smoking, and consult your oral health expert regularly.”
Healthway Medical offers dental services to its Filipino patients who want to win a confident smile. According to de Leon, the teeth need regular attention “beyond brushing and flossing.”
“Everyone deserves good quality dental services that will help them win a confidence-boosting smile. With our competent dental medicine experts, we can help Filipinos with diabetes smile sweetly again and help them go back to their normal lives,” de Leon concluded.
If you think you have periodontitis or any other oral health concerns, visit any Healthway Medical clinics at the Alabang Town Center, Shangri-la Plaza, Market! Market!, Festival Mall, Healthway Manila, SM The Block and Greenbelt 5.
For more details, please contact (02) 751-4929 or visit www.healthway.com.ph.
Department of Health (via interaksyon)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention