Oral Health and Diabetes
A diabetes diagnosis comes as a shock. With it, comes the need for several lifestyle changes and extra vigilance when it comes to other aspects of your health. Living with diabetes means that you need extra support from your healthcare team, and your dentist shouldn’t be overlooked. The American Diabetes Association is one of the groups that highlights the need for increased vigilance in taking care of your oral health.
Periodontitis is Your Biggest Risk
Periodontitis is a very serious form of gum disease. The gums recede from the teeth and empty spaces develop around each tooth. If the condition is left untreated, these areas fill with pus while the bacteria responsible for the infection continue to work away at your gums. When things get this bad, tooth loss is almost inevitable, and even the jawbone can suffer severe damage.
Fortunately, periodontitis begins with a miler infection called gingivitis, and regular check-ups allow your dentist at Birch Dental Group to spot the problem before it becomes very serious. 22% of diabetics contract gum disease, so regular check-ups are a must.
Gum Disease Makes Managing Your Diabetes Harder to Do
While we have long known that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease because of a compromised immune system, newer evidence suggests a tow-way street effect. Because you have diabetes, you are likelier to get gum infections, and gum infections, in turn, aggravate diabetes. Blood glucose control is much harder to manage when you have gum disease, so keeping your teeth and gums healthy is incredibly important to your overall wellbeing.
You’re Also at Higher Risk of Other Dental Problems
Dry mouth is often one of the symptoms of diabetes. Your mouth is less able to produce adequate amounts of saliva, and apart from being uncomfortable, the shortage of saliva places your oral health at risk. Saliva coats the inside of the mouth including the teeth, and it has a protective function. With less saliva, you’re also more prone to infections like oral thrush, and the risk of tooth decay is much higher.
Taking Care of Your Teeth is Part of Your Diabetes Management Strategy
The link between oral health problems and diabetes is circular with each aggravating the other. Managing your blood glucose is the most important basic, and right after that comes oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.
Good blood glucose control relieves problems like dry mouth and reduces your chance of serious oral infections. In turn, a healthy mouth helps you to manage your diabetes. Instead of allowing the link between oral health and diabetes to be a negative cycle, you can turn it into a positive one.
Your dentist needs to know that you are a diabetic as this will inform him or her as to your needs and the care you should get. Your dentist might also ask you about blood glucose control before attempting any procedures. It’s best for you to have a good blood sugar balance before we work on your teeth.
Let us help you to manage your diabetes and overall health better. Your teeth and gums might seem far-removed from your diabetes, but the truth is that caring for your teeth is a vital part of your diabetes management strategy.