Diabetes & Your Smile (July 17, 2017)
There are currently about 29.1 million people in the US living with diabetes. That totals about 9.3% of the entire US population. There are about 1.7 million new cases diagnosed each year, and about 8.1 million people out there have diabetes and don’t even know they are effected. Diabetes ruins your body’s ability to process sugar. Type I diabetics have the problem of not producing insulin, which is a hormone that carries the sugar to the cells of the body for energy. Type II diabetes is when the body quits responding to the insulin that is stored. Both cases result in severely heightened sugar levels being present in the blood, which in turn results in problems with various parts of your body. One problem a lot of people don’t consider that they may have is complications with their oral health.
Symptoms of Untreated Diabetes:
There are many warning signs that an individual may be suffering from diabetes and they can come from every part of your body. These are all signs that may point to you having high blood sugar and they include the following symptoms including the need to urinate excessive thirst, the need to urinate frequently, weight loss, excessive fatigue, and even loss of consciousness if blood sugars fall too low at any given time.
There are also problems that you can have with your oral health if you become diabetic. These problems include producing less saliva (dry mouth), gingivitis, problems tasting food, experience slower wound healing (especially in the mouth), higher susceptibility to infections, and teeth may erupt through the gum line at an earlier age than they should in children (usually Type I diabetes).
Why Are People with Diabetes More Prone to Gum Disease?
We all have tiny bacteria living in our mouth, and if these bacteria are not occasionally cleaned out (i.e. brushing and flossing) they can work their way into the gum line which can eat away at the bone structure underneath the teeth and cause periodontal disease. This chronic condition inflames and can destroy your gums and the tissues holding your teeth in, which in extreme cases can result in tooth decay or even loss.
Periodontal disease is much more relevant to people who are diabetic as it is estimated that about 22% of all diabetics have some form of periodontal disease. The risk of this condition increases with age, poor blood control tactics, and poor oral hygiene. This makes diabetes harder to control if the person cannot eat the foods they are supposed to eat to help keep their diabetes in check due to poor oral health and a lack of teeth.
How Can My Dentist Help Me Fight Diabetes?
Your dentist can help by seeing you for regularly scheduled appointments. Most people see the dentist at least every 6 months, but sometimes people with diabetes may need to go see their dentists even more frequently. Talk to your dentist about a good visitation plan for your individual needs, and be sure to stick to that schedule. Regular visits can help catch problems before they become more advanced and can save you a lot of trouble, headaches, and problems in the future.
Your Action Plan:
To control your diabetes and any orally-related problems there are some things you can continually do to ensure that your oral health is at a premium. Those things include controlling your blood sugar levels by ensuring you are using your blood-sugar medications as directed, avoid smoking, cleaning your dentures every day, brushing 2x a day/flossing 1x per day (good oral habits), and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more about us visit us here or call us 909-465-1016.
The Ramona Dentistry Team
“Where Family Comes First”