Do you or someone you love have diabetes? Over 30 million people suffer from diabetes. Ever wondered how diabetes can affect your teeth? There is a distinct connection between diabetes and oral health.
A diabetic patient has a higher chance of developing dental problems at some point.
These dental problems may be caused due to infections of gum tissues around their teeth. This is because diabetes can block the blood supply- to the gum tissues around the teeth.
What Types Of Teeth Infections Can You Get From Diabetes?
You might be wondering what type of dental problems might arise as a result of diabetes. Although usually treatable, these infections are most of the time cavity and gum related infections.
Whether you have type one or type two diabetes, managing your diabetes blood sugar level is important. As the blood sugar level rises, the higher the risk of having an infection
- Tooth Decay
The dental space naturally contains many types of bacteria. With the introduction of sugar and starch materials from foods and beverages, there is an inevitable interaction of these bacteria to form a sticky film. This develops into plaque on the teeth.
Diabetes is one of the known causes of reduction of the ability to effectively fight bacteria in the body. This results in the speedy development of bacteria in the dental regions.
Bacteria buildup can invariably graduate to plaque, especially if regular dental care like brushing and flossing is not being done regularly. This causes the hardening of this plaque substance leading to what is referred to as Tartar (dental calculus).
The presence of calculus (tartar) under the gum line and plaque on the teeth will lead to a gradual irritation of the teeth and gum tissues.
The irritation on the part of the base of the teeth (known as gingiva) leads to swelling and easy bleeding. This condition is known as gingivitis.
This is another dental conditionthan can be caused mostly by diabetes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing thrush, a fungal infection that is caused by a type of yeast known as Candida albicans.
Some of the known symptoms of thrush include painful patches in the mouth which may be whitish or reddish. In most cases, good oral hygiene and care of dental region can be helpful to avoid thrush.
Another development from diabetes is dry mouth. Diabetes can lead to dry mouth as a result of the lack of saliva in the mouth. Xerostomia is the condition where the mouth is unusually dry as a result of lack of saliva.
Without saliva in the mouth, there is an increased risk in tooth decay (cavities), thrush, development of more bacteria which leads to other gum diseases.
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes causes numerous unprocessed glucose in the bloodstream and the body in general. This results in pain, infections, and other situations, especially in the mouth.
The glucose available in your saliva is controlled in the body in a balanced mechanism. With the inability to control the body glucose level due to the inability to process glucose, this causes more sugar to be present in the salivary stream.
This causes harmful bacteria in your mouth region to grow.
The combination of these bacteria and starchy food substances come together to form sticky films referred to as plaque. This plaque causes tooth decay, infections and damage to your teeth. It also results in bad breath and gum diseases.
Symptoms Of The Dental Issues Caused By Diabetes
Initially, most of the symptoms of dental problems are noticed from negligible mouth pains. You must visit your dentist right away if you are becoming exceedingly uncomfortable.
Some of the symptoms you would start to notice when dental problems starting up from diabetes include:
- Swelling of gums
- Tender, sensitive and bleeding gums
- Dry mouth area
- White appearnce around the teeth area, gum tissue & tongue
- Tooth ache
- Reduction in the level of saliva in your mouth region
In some interesting cases, you might not even notice some of the above-listed signs. It could be when the damage is already at a critical stage before the manifestation of these symptoms start to manifest. Hence, it is very important to visit the dentist twice at least twice a year.
Prevention Of Dental Issues Caused By Diabetes
There are various practical steps you can take to prevent any of the above listed dental issues that might spring up as a result of your diabetes level. Here are some ways to prevent issues between diabetes and oral health.
Some of which include:
- Taking your diabetes drug on time and regularly
If you are prescribed a diabetic medication. Follow your doctors orders on this to help keep your blood sugar under control. This will ensure that your body can regulate your glucose level in check.
- Maintain your glucose level to the normal target
There are practical ways through which you can maintain your glucose level. You might be needing the help of your doctor to achieve this glucose blood level target. This is to ensure your body sugar level is neither too high or to low.
- Healthy meals
Following a meal plan is another important way through which you can maintain good mouth hygiene in the fight against dental problems. Following the diet plan prepared by you and your doctor or dietitian Is very important.
- Good oral hygiene
Maintenance of good dental oral hygiene is very important. regularly brushing and flossing is very important for the maintenance of good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice per day with fluoride toothpaste for the prevention of your teeth against decay.
How Do You Treat Dental Problems Caused By Diabetes?
In the quest to solve any issues that may arise from diabetes, you should consult your dentist for directions on what the symptoms are and what next you should do.
If your dentist tells you about a problem, you must take care of it immediately. You need to religiously follow the steps outlined for treatment by your dentist. When you have diabetes, you have a weakened immune system. This can cause problems to develop quicker and they need to be addressed as soon as possible.
Wrapping It Up
Diabetes and oral health go hand in hand. There are a handful of dental-related issues that can arise from the side effects of diabetes. Also, this usually causes serious damage to your dental condition if not properly taken care of. It is important to keep good oral hygiene and visit your dentist at least twice a year for a dental checkup and proper care for your dentition.
Kelly Hancock, RDH
Kelly is a registered dental hygienist and oral health care provider. She is passionate about oral hygiene and encourages people to achieve optimal oral health. She has been working in the dental profession for 16 years and worked in many different roles in the dental industry. Kelly is currently a pediatric dental hygienist specializing in children’s dentistry. She is committed to helping others with their oral health care issues and helping others achieve a smile they love.