Diabetes is an unfortunately widespread disease among the American population — nearly 30 million Americans suffer from a form of diabetes.
Although millions of these people have been able to adapt to living with this condition, certain aspects of their health are at higher risk — including their oral health.
Absolute Smile works hard to ensure people with diabetes and their loved ones understand the oral health implications of the condition so that they can take action to stay healthy. Read on to learn more about the links between diabetes and oral health.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that causes blood sugar levels to be much higher than normal. Over time, these elevated levels of blood sugar can cause various problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision loss.
There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is much less common, only occurring in 5-10% of those with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing pancreas cells so they stop producing insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common. This type of diabetes causes the body to not produce insulin as well a phenomenon called insulin resistance.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes can lead to a host of problems all around the body, including the mouth. Here are some ways diabetes can harm your oral health.
- Gum weakening: Excess glucose in your system can weaken gum tissue due to blood vessels being unable to function properly. Gums will take longer to heal from injury, among many other issues.
- Increased chance of periodontal disease: Because gum tissue weakens, nutrients can’t flow to gums as well — and the same with waste flowing away. You’ll have a higher risk of periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss.
Dry mouth: Diabetes can slow saliva production and lead to dry mouth. Dry mouth can then lead to soreness and ulcers.
How to Maintain Good Oral Health With Diabetes
Oral health habits magnify in importance for people who have diabetes. Brushing 2-3 times per day with a soft-bristled brush, flossing, and using mouthwash help keep the mouth clean of bad bacteria.
Same with monitoring food intake. It’s now critical to watch sugar intake, as it can both spike blood sugar and decrease oral health.
In addition, most dentists will recommend additional cleanings to clear out any food particles you may miss.
At Absolute Smile, we’ll carefully look at your medical history to make sure you’re getting only the best care. Our aim is to provide all of our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to keep their smiles happy and their mouths healthy. Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help!