What You Need To Know:
The Effect Diabetes Has On Oral Health
Diabetes affects every aspect of your life. From ensuring your blood sugar is at the right level to keeping up with regular exercise, managing diabetes is no easy task. You must be aware of many complications that can arise from diabetes, and your oral health is no exception. Since it’s National Diabetes Month, we have provided information and tips to consider regarding the relationship between diabetes and your oral health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes—and 8.1 million of those do not know they have the disease. If you’re not sure if you might have diabetes, the first step to taking care of your body is finding out if that’s the case. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Hunger and fatigue
- Peeing more frequently while also being thirstier
- Dry mouth and itchy skin
More symptoms that can indicate longer term damage caused by diabetes include:
- Yeast Infections (for both genders)
- Pain or numbness in your legs and feet
- Cuts or sores that heal slowly
If you are experiencing these symptoms, go see your physician and get tested for diabetes. For your oral health, the symptoms take a while longer to show that actual damage that is occurring in your mouth if left untreated. Keep notice for symptoms like:
- Puffy, swollen gums that bleed when brushed or flossed
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
These are all signs of gingivitis, which if left untreated, can turn into periodontitis.
How does diabetes contribute to gum disease?
There are a few major ways diabetes affects your mouth. First, if your blood sugar levels are left unchecked, the glucose level of your saliva rises. Glucose is a type of sugar, and bacteria loves sugar, which will speed up the progress of gum disease. Second, with diabetes, your blood vessels thicken, making it harder for them to deliver oxygen and nutrients, as well as to take away waste. Lastly, a symptom of diabetes is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep the bacteria from sticking to your teeth, and a lack of saliva makes it easier for plaque and tartar to develop.
How do I prevent gum disease caused by diabetes?
- Control your blood sugar levels. This is done in many ways, such as taking insulin injections, eating different foods, exercising, and visiting your physician regularly.
- Brush and floss every day — This advice may seem obvious, but it’s tried and true. Removing plaque from your gumline and stimulating your gums are an excellent way to prevent gum disease.
- Visit your dentist for teeth cleanings — If you don’t have signs of gum disease yet, stay up to date on your regular teeth cleaning every six months. If you do have gingivitis or periodontal disease, a deeper clean will be required to prevent further tooth damage.
Whether you have diabetes or not, it is still very important to take care of your mouth. Recent studies have shown that not only are people with diabetes more likely to be afflicted by periodontal disease, but people with periodontal disease are more susceptible to getting diabetes as well.
While diabetes and periodontal disease can affect your quality of life, if treated early and often, you can mitigate much damage caused by these diseases. Contact Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry today to see how we can help.