Diabetes and Dental Health

Diabetes affects over 29 million Americans. This statistic reflects that almost 10% of the population is diabetic. Research shows that 8 million people are living with diabetes and don’t know it. Most of us understand the effects on our overall health, but do not know that diabetes plays an important role in our dental health.

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugars in foods. Diabetes can cause high blood sugar levels which directly effect your kidneys, eyes, nerves, heart, teeth, and gums. It is important to understand the warning signs of diabetes and the role the disease plays in your mouth.

Warning signs of diabetes are excessive thirst and the need to urinate frequently. Also, weight loss and fatique are common symptons of diabetes. If blood sugars fall to low, then one can lose consciousness and become disoriented.

Diabetes can cause severe symptons in the mouth. Diabetics typically have less saliva. This can result in a dry mouth and an increase in cavaties. Dry mouth can also affect your ability to taste food. Diabetes also can result in inflamed gums and increase susceptibility to periodontal (gum) disease. Diabetics tend to be more prone to infections and have delayed healing in the mouth.

Poor blood sugar control in older adults results in an increase in periodontal disease!
Research indicates that 22% of the diabetic population develops gum disease. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise, which makes diabetes harder to control. This results in more susceptibility to infections and one is less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums. Diabetics tend to heal slower than healthy individuals.

There are some important steps you can take if you are a diabetic to reduce the risk of periodontal disease and tooth loss. Regular visits to your dentist for preventative care, typically every 3-4 months, are a key to lowering the risk of gum disease. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, thus decreasing the progression of the disease.

Daily home care is another important aspect to control periodontal and infections in the mouth. Also, drinking water and utilizing Fluoride mouth rinses help to prevent cavaties, especially for those suffering from dry mouth.

Diabetes takes a toll on your entire body, but it can also increase your risk of dental disease and other symptoms in your mouth. One in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. The good news is visiting your dentist regularly help decrease the likelihood of developing diabetes-related mouth issues.

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