The affect of diabetes on your overall health is more consequential than many people realize. Problems with diet and circulation are well known, but did you realize that diabetes can also degrade your oral health? If you or someone you love is working to manage diabetes, it is important that you understand how the condition is affecting your teeth and gums.
Diabetes and Dental Problems > There's a Link
Diabetes raises your blood sugar level causing sugars and starches to build up in your mouth. When those substances react with natural oral bacteria, they cause plaque to build up on the outside of your teeth. Over time, the acid in that plaque breaks down the enamel on your teeth, causing you to develop cavities. People with diabetes need to be aware that they are at increased risk for tooth decay.
Patients with diabetes suffer from a reduced ability to fight off bacteria. If you do not brush and floss regularly, plaque caused by bacteria will harden around your gum line into a substance known as tartar. The longer that this abrasive substance is allowed to build up around your gums, the more frequently and severely they will become irritated. If your gums have become swollen and bleed easily, diabetes may be exacerbating the problem.
Advanced Gum Disease
If gum disease is left untreated, it can develop into an advanced form known as periodontitis. This condition slowly causes the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth to break down. In extreme cases, this can cause your teeth to become loose and even fall out. Patients with diabetes are at greater risk of periodontitis because their bodies struggle to fight off infections. Plus, the infection itself can cause your blood sugar to rise, making it more difficult to manage diabetes.
If you take diabetes and dental care seriously, there are steps you can take to prevent and heal the issues mentioned above:
- Manage your diabetes carefully
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss your teeth every day
- Have your teeth cleaned by a dentist twice a year
- Inform your dentist about your diabetes
- Watch out for signs of gum disease
- Never smoke
Take Steps to Manage Your Diabetes and Dental Care
It is important for all diabetics to understand the increased risk they face from tooth and gum decay. As you take steps to manage your diabetes, make your oral health a priority. You may be at increased risk, but that doesn't mean that dental problems are unavoidable. Work with the team at The Happy Tooth to access all the resources you need to keep your teeth healthy and your smile looking spectacular.