How does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?
Does diabetes affect your teeth?
Surprisingly 37.3 million Americans, which is around 1 in every 10 people, have diabetes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Diabetes is a chronic disease that impacts your body’s way of processing sugar that is normally converted into energy for the body. As a result, diabetes causes the blood sugar levels to rise, which can lead to many other health problems throughout the body, including your mouth. Diabetes has been linked to higher risks of developing oral issues including dry mouth, tooth decay,gum disease, altered taste, oral infections, altered timing of tooth eruption during childhood, and delayed healing of oral conditions, just to name a few issues.
Why do people with diabetes have dental problems?
Individuals with diabetes are more likely to suffer from dental problems in part due to fluctuating blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can weaken your body’s immune system, which alters how it responds to fighting infections that occur within the mouth. It is also a two-way street, as dental problems like gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to increase and make diabetes harder to manage.
What diabetic oral issues are common?
Periodontal disease, a severe form of gum disease, is a common oral issue that diabetics face. Periodontal disease is characterized by gum inflammation, which if left untreated, can result in bone loss and eventually tooth loss. Other common oral issues in diabetics include tooth decay, dry mouth, oral thrush (fungal infection), and burning mouth syndrome.
How will I know if diabetes is causing oral issues?
It is important to check your mouth for signs and symptoms of oral issues, and to visit with your dental professionals for proper diagnosis and treatment. Look out for red, swollen, or bleeding gums, gum recession, mobile teeth, teeth shifting, dry mouth, white lesions on the tongue or inner cheeks, altered taste, and persistent bad breath.
What should I do if I have diabetes-related oral issues?
It is important to visit your dentist immediately if you notice any oral issues. Inform them of any medical conditions, including diabetes, and any medications you are taking. Your dental professionals can help catch oral problems early on before worsening. They will help you manage your oral health, which in turn can help you improve blood sugar control.
How can I protect my teeth if I have diabetes?
Managing your blood sugar levels is essential to helping you control diabetes and reduce your risk of developing gum disease and other oral issues. Practicing good oral hygiene at home with brushing twice a day and flossing daily, in addition to regularly visiting your dentist is necessary to protect your teeth. Continue to be on the lookout for any signs or symptoms of oral issues. Be sure to avoid habits such as tobacco use that can pose serious health risks.
Find quality dental care for your diabetes-related oral issues
Managing diabetes requires multi-disciplinary care involving both medical and dental professionals. Research has shown that treating gum disease can help control blood sugar levels, which is another important reason to visit the dentist. The caring team of dental professionals at Gentle Dental is here to help keep you and your smile healthy. With a wide range of dental services offered, all your dental needs can be met.