How Diabetes Affects Oral Health

Diabetes causes a whole host of conditions within the human body. There are roughly 30 million Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes. Right now you may be asking yourself what diabetes has to do with oral health. But recent research has shown that those who have diabetes have a high rate of gum disease.

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection. The infection impacts the bones and gums that hold the teeth in place. If left untreated, gum disease almost always leads to tooth loss. There can also be dry mouth, trouble chewing and abscesses associated with it.

Keeping your blood glucose levels under control are vital to keeping oral problems at bay. Those who do not maintain their diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease than those who have it well-maintained. People with diabetes are more susceptible to bacterial infections. Their bodies have a lower resistance to the bacteria. The bacteria take the opportunity to overtake the mouth.

New research suggests that it is not just diabetes which causes oral health issues. Serious gum disease, that which has not been treated, may affect the blood glucose levels of a person. When these levels stay out of whack, there is a higher chance that a person will develop diabetes.

It is very much a two-way street. If you develop periodontal disease you will have an increased chance of getting diabetes. If you have diabetes, you will be more susceptible to periodontal disease. The good news is that both of these are treatable. Just as with other infections, diabetes becomes harder to control and manage.

The most important step to making sure you do not develop periodontal disease is to manage your diabetes. Follow the instructions given to you by your doctor. You must also make it a point to get regular dental check-ups. This is something recommended to all of my patients, but it is especially important for those who have diabetes as well.

To limit the amount of bacteria which build up in your mouth, be sure to remove any dentures or partials and clean them. This should be done every night. It is tempting to use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them, but this can actually make your dentures worse. It creates little pockets that bacteria can hide in. Always use the recommended method (tablets, etc….) for caring for those devices.

It just so happens that many of the foods which are recommended to diabetic patients are also teeth healthy. Anytime you eliminate sugars, you are taking the food source away from the bacteria which dwell in your mouth. Not only are you restricting bacteria, but healthy foods contain vitamins that promote tooth health.

Always brush your teeth. When you are diabetic and have a low germ tolerance, brushing after every meal will keep bacteria at bay. Remember there are beneficial bacteria, but when their numbers grow, havoc is unleashed on the mouth.

Diabetes and periodontal disease do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you take care of yourself, your teeth can last in spite of having diabetes.

Copyright Dr. Jean-Jacques Edderai -2015

Please follow and like us: