How is Diabetes and Oral Health Linked?

Diabetes can affect your body from head to toe, including your mouth. It may seem unlikely, but uncontrolled blood sugar can have a negative effect leading to the development of gum disease or vice versa. Adults with diabetes are twice as likely to have problems with their teeth and gums as those without. Approximately one third of those with diabetes have severe periodontal disease.

The link between diabetes and oral health:

  1. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes can be triggered by chronic low grade inflammation including inflammation of the gums. This inflammation increases blood glucose levels.
  2. Chronic inflammation can also affect your saliva. High blood glucose levels allow bacteria to blossom within the salvia which overtime can lead to tooth decay from the constant high levels of bacteria producing the acid that breaks down the enamel of teeth.
  3. Unstable diabetes creates high glucose build up in the blood which damages nerves and causes the hardening of blood vessels leading to decreased blood flow. Without adequate circulation the oxygen and nutrients needed are not supplied to the gums and jaw bone discontinuing proper function. This is how gum disease, infection, tooth loss, and a hampered healing process can occur.
  4. Smoking increases all of these effects, by furthering the restriction of blood flow and healing.
  5. Bacteria in the mouth can also make you more prone to the development of thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue) and bad breath.
  6. Diabetes also has a negative effect on the success rates for implant tooth replacement. Uncontrolled diabetes results in a low healing process in the body, which in turn can lead to the implant’s failure to integrate with bone.
  7. Some people with diabetes often complain about dry mouth. Constant dryness may irritate soft tissue which may become painful. Dry mouth can also lead to an increase in tooth decay due to lack of salvia. You may use sugarless gum, mints, and candies to help aid in saliva production. Frequent water consumption or rinses with water can help. Also available are saliva substitutes or medications to help relieve dry mouth. See your dentist for more info regarding dry mouth or read our earlier blog on maintaining oral health when you have a dry mouth at teninofamilydental.com
  8. Everyone is at risk for tooth decay when eating meals, snacks, or drinks high in sugar because the bacteria in your mouth change the sugar into acid which attacks the enamel of teeth. Repeated acid exposure results in the breakdown of the enamel causing cavities. People with diabetes whom treat hypoglycemia with foods or glucose are at a higher risk for the development of tooth decay if not careful. Make sure to rinse with water or brush after each treatment to help aid in reducing this risk. If you treat midnight hypoglycemia with food or glucose, be sure to rinse your mouth with water, a fluoride mouth wash or brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste before heading back to bed

 

 

Everyone is at risk for tooth decay when eating meals, snacks, or drinks high in sugar because the bacteria in your mouth change the sugar into acid which attacks the enamel of teeth.  Repeated acid exposure results in the breakdown of the enamel causing cavities.  People with diabetes whom treat hypoglycemia with foods or glucose are at a higher risk for the development of tooth decay if not careful.  Make sure to rinse with water or brush after each treatment to help aid in reducing this risk.  If you treat midnight hypoglycemia with food or glucose, be sure to rinse your mouth with water, a fluoride mouth wash or brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste before heading back to bed

 

Repercussions for not treating or stabilizing either your diabetes or gum health will thus increase your risk of developing the other. Our focus is to educate you about this link in hopes that you understand that controlling blood sugar levels and maintaining healthy teeth and gums work to support one another.

 

Tips for preventing dental gum disease:

  • Control your blood sugar levels
  • Brush your teeth regularly (2 times, 2 minutes, per day) focusing along your gum line
  • Brush your teeth after meals when possible
  • Use a soft toothbrush
  • Replace your toothbrush ever 3 months
  • Rinse your toothbrush after each use thoroughly with water to avoid bacteria growth
  • Use fluoridated tooth paste (see you doctor about possibly using a prescription strength toothpaste)
  • Floss daily
  • See your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams
  • Tell your dentist if you have diabetes
  • Avoid smoking
  • Drink plenty of water

 

By | 2017-05-25T10:47:59+00:00 November 21st, 2014|Dentist Updates|0 Comments