Recent studies have shown links between oral health and health throughout the rest of the body. In particular, the researchers that conducted these studies noticed that poor oral health seemed to be correlated with certain diseases; one of the most common was diabetes.
Let’s look closer at diabetes and dental health.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of diseases where the body either produces insufficient or no insulin, leading to excessive glucose levels in the blood (hyperglycemia).
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin. This form of diabetes is much less common; 5% to 10% of all diabetes cases are Type 1.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common at 85% to 90% of all cases. Those who have Type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin sufficiently, and may later on not produce enough.
The Link Between Diabetes and Dental Health
Blood sugar is what ties together diabetes and oral health. Failing to control diabetes leads to higher blood sugar, which can impair your immune system’s ability to fight off infection via white blood cells.
Failing to control blood sugar can lead to a host of other problems that we’ve described below.
Oral Health Problems Associated With Diabetes
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing several oral health problems:
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis: Not only does diabetes weaken white blood cells, but it also causes blood vessels to narrow. As a result, nutrients and waste take longer to flow to the proper places throughout the body, including your mouth. This makes fighting off bacteria that cause gum disease even harder.
Slow healing of oral tissue: Recovering from oral surgery takes longer when you have diabetes; this is because your narrower blood vessels slow down the flow of nutrients via blood to the wounded area.
Dry mouth: Uncontrolled diabetes slows saliva flow, leading to dry mouth. Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay, make you more susceptible to infections, and lead to soreness, among other issues.
Thrush: Those with diabetes who take antibiotics may develop Thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth that thrives on a large amount of glucose found in the saliva of those with uncontrolled diabetes.
Dental Care is Of Utmost Important For Those With Diabetes
If you have diabetes, it’s not only vital that you keep it under control, but you need to put extra work into maintaining a clean, healthy mouth.
In addition to staying on top of your brushing, flossing, and avoidance of foods that are bad for your teeth and gums, pay regular visits to a dentist. They’ll clean any spots you missed, and catch early warning signs of other health issues, which is even more important if you have diabetes.
Schedule an appointment with Absolute Smile today and we’ll get your mouth taken care of.