How Does Diabetes Affect Your Oral Health?

Diabetes is a very serious illness affecting over 29 million Americans. Thanks to the sedentary lifestyles and the love we have for junk food, the numbers will only keep rising. Although predominantly known for its sugar implications, diabetes has a negative impact on the dental health of individuals.

It is not often that people talk about the implications of diabetes on the dental health of an individual but we want to address the same today because of the sheer number of diabetic patients that we have received in Vita this year. Irrespective of the type of diabetes one is suffering from, they are at a higher risk of suffering from dental problems than non-diabetics.

Diabetes and Oral Health

As we all know, diabetes affect the body’s ability to process sugar and this results in very high blood sugar levels which cause problems to the major parts of the body including eyes, nerves, kidneys, the heart and surprisingly the oral system. Diabetes normally affects your body’s ability to produce sufficient saliva and this is a leading cause of very many dental problems.

Lack of sufficient saliva production in the mouth makes your teeth susceptible to decay and can also contribute to gum diseases. This is because Saliva helps wash away food remnants and tartar from teeth. If there is no sufficient saliva in the mouth therefore, the chances of the tartar building up are high and this will increase the likelihood of dental problems developing. Problems such as dental cavities arise from accumulation of plaque and tartar in the mouth and if they are not addressed on time, they can have far reaching consequences. It is relatively easy to know when your body is not producing enough saliva. Some of the most common symptoms accompanying dry mouth include a dry tongue and dry, cracked lips.

In addition to reduced saliva production, diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, putting the gums at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation caused by the bacteria in the form of plaque. It also reduces the blood flow to gums hence denying them important nutrients.

This is why people with diabetes are at risk of dental diseases more than those living without diabetes. Here are some of the most common dental diseases that people living with diabetes should be wary of;

Gingivitis

This is the inflammation of gums and is caused by plaque which is the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth and gums. When it is not removed through daily brushing and flossing, it starts producing poisonous toxins which irritate the gums resulting in the condition referred to as gingivitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen and tinder gums which will most likely bleed when you try brushing. Receded gums are another symptom that should be indicative of gingivitis.

Periodontitis

This is a more chronic form of gingivitis and is often referred to as gum disease. Here the gums and the other periodontal structures are deeply inflamed and become very sore, red and swollen. People with diabetes easily get periodontitis because of their weakened immunity and lack of enough blood supply to the gums.

So, now that we have seen the relationship between diabetes and oral diseases, it is time to think about preventive measures. What are some of the things one should do to stay clear of these diseases? Here are some of the practical things you should do if you are a diabetic to reduce chances of suffering from dental diseases;

Brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis

Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss once per day. Brushing on a regular basis and flossing after every meal will help get rid of any food remnants stuck between the teeth. If you go days without brushing, these remnants accumulate and become plaque which later hardens to become tartar and this is essentially how tooth decay begins.

Be mindful of your diet

 A good diet will not only help your diabetes but will help prevent the development of dental problems. Avoid sugary foods especially because they are the chief sources of diabetes woes.

Inform your dentist about diabetes during your visits

Make sure that your family doctor and dentist are aware of your situation. It is important to let your dentist know about your diabetes and inform your general practitioner about any dental problems. The earlier the dentist knows about your situation, the better treatment he/she will administer.

Make regular visits to your dentist

To ensure that your dental health is in the best possible shape, visit your dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleaning. Always update your dentist on the state of your diabetes as well. Report any changes in your sugar levels to the doctor and abide by the advice the medical practitioners give you.

If you are a diabetic and need more information on how to stay away from the dental problems associated with diabetes, give us a call here at Vita Best Dentist in Katy or Make an appointment online with our dentist and we will gladly offer our expert advice.