Relation Between Diabetes & Oral Health

Did you know that diabetes and oral health are correlated? You might be surprised to hear but it is true. It’s time to learn about the relation between oral health and diabetes. Timely prevention and cure of diabetes can effectively manage the disease and help improve general oral health and overall well being. Some people with diabetes have a sweet tooth or rather a whole mouthful of them and if your sugar level is high in your blood, then it is high in your saliva too. This proves to be a problem because sugar acts as a fertilizer for all the bacteria in the mouth. When combined with food, this bacteria creates plaque, a sticky film that can cause tooth decay.

Let us learn a bit about diabetes –

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects your body’s ability to process insulin or hinders your body from producing enough insulin. Insulin is an important hormone that is needed to absorb and control sugar in your blood. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 is caused due to genetic factors whereas type 2 is caused due to obesity.

Periodontal disease –

When plaque builds up in your gums and is left untreated, it eventually becomes hard and turns into tartar which in turn irritates the gums and leads to redness, tenderness, swollen gums, loose teeth and gum recession. Severe gum disease can also lead to tooth loss. Thus following a regular dental health regimen is of utmost importance. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) about 22% people with diabetes also suffer from periodontal disease. A research conducted and published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology found that just 6.4% of diabetes patients who were surveyed had the complete set of 32 teeth.

Diabetes and gum disease are surely interlinked but the relationship is a two way process. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease and on the other hand, gum disease can affect blood sugar levels and increase diabetes symptoms. One reason why people with diabetes have a higher risk of oral health issues is because they have a decreased ability to fight the bacteria that tries to destroy the gums.

Types of dental problems linked to diabetes –

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum inflammation (Gingivitis)
  • Infection in the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Fungal infections
  • Irritated and sore mouth
  • Tooth loss
  • Abscesses 

Your dental health to-do list to ensure good oral hygiene –

Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are your first line of defence against tooth and gum problems. But no matter how regular you are, you may not be able to tell if you have gum disease. Twice yearly check-ups and cleaning are the best ways to ensure good gum health along with a few others listed below :

  • Control your blood sugar levels 
  • Brush twice and floss once everyday
  • See your dentist at least once a year
  • Tell your dentist if you have diabetes
  • If your gums are swollen or bleed easily, see your dentist right away
  • If you smoke, quit as it worsens gum disease 
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables 
  • Control carbohydrates and sugar intake
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. 

Remember to talk to your dental healthcare team for more advice if you need it and give the Prodental Clinic a call if you are worried about complications and need more support.

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