Understanding Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes isn't a choice, but we can choose the best strategy to fight it, especially when it comes to your dental health.
Nearly 30 million people battle diabetes, and every 23 seconds, someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.
The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and oral health conditions are often related, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Patients with Type I or Type II diabetes are at an increased risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and various fungal infections in the mouth.
Fortunately, people with diabetes today can take a proactive approach to manage their oral health by following and controlling their glucose levels, practicing thorough oral hygiene, and visiting the dentist regularly for examinations and dental cleanings is important.
The immune system can easily become impaired when diabetes is not controlled. People with diabetes face a higher risk of oral health problems, such as:
Are people with diabetes at greater risk for dental cavities?
There are some who believe that high glucose levels in the saliva of people with unmanaged diabetes cause bacteria to thrive. This results in the development of gum disease and dental caries. Also, people with diabetes tend to eat more frequently throughout the day which increases the chance for bacteria to grow and more of an opportunity for cavities to surface.
There are others who believe that people with diabetes are more aware of what to manage their sugar intake and therefore don't eat many foods with cavity-causing sugar.
The fact is good oral hygiene and keeping a good blood sugar balance are the best protection against cavities and periodontal disease.
So what can diabetics do to keep their mouth and gums healthy?
Since people with diabetes are much more prone to infections and conditions that can be harmful to their oral health, it's vital to follow good oral hygiene practices and be attentive to any changes in your oral health. If changes are present, contact your dentist immediately.
Following are my recommendations to reduce or even prevent oral and dental health issues:
Diabetes is a disease that can affect the entire body --- your eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys, and your teeth, gums, and mouth. With attention to medical care, awareness, and self-care that monitors and keeps blood sugar as close to normal as possible, and excellent personal and professional dental care, problems after dental treatments or oral surgery are no more likely in people with diabetes than in those without the disease.