It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that interferes with the body’s ability to process the glucose produced from the foods we eat into usable energy. Did you know that it can also affect your oral health?
High blood sugar weakens the immune system, so those with diabetes have a decreased ability to combat the bacteria that can cause infection in the gums. In fact, research indicates that those with diabetes are three times more likely to develop gum disease than those who aren’t diabetic.
The diabetes-oral health connection is a two-way street. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but periodontal disease could make it harder to control blood sugar levels, which could contribute to the progression of diabetes.
Diabetes Can Take a Toll on Your Mouth’s Health
In addition to gum disease, when diabetes is untreated, your oral health is affected in other ways, including:
- You may have less saliva, causing dry mouth.
- Food may taste different, or you may have a loss of the sense of taste.
- Since saliva protects your teeth, with less saliva you are at a higher risk of cavities.
- Diabetes interferes with healing.
- You may be more prone to infections in your mouth, such as thrush.
- Teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical in children with diabetes.
How Can You Prevent Oral Health Problems Associated With Diabetes?
There are things you can do if you have diabetes to help prevent dental issues from developing. Controlling blood sugar levels is key. Use your medications as directed and maintain a healthy diet. Avoid smoking, as smoking can worsen gum disease. Make sure you follow good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing daily.
Regular dental visits are very important. Having professional deep cleanings done can help in controlling blood sugar levels, as well as help to eliminate gum disease, which can accelerate diabetes symptoms.
We believe that dental health and overall general health are tightly connected. Those with dental disease are far more susceptible to chronic diseases, such as diabetes — and vice versa. If you are in the Spotswood, New Jersey, area, call for an appointment and find out for yourself what our whole-health, high-quality, patient-first care can do for you.