What is the link between diabetes and your mouth? While dental visits are important for everyone, research shows that regular dental visits can help improve your blood sugar control If you are diabetic. Good oral hygiene habits at home and regular professional cleanings with Dr. Shane S. Porter, of Premier Dentistry of Eagle can actually help to lower your A1c numbers, and help to control your diabetes.
Over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes with 1.7 million new cases diagnosed every year and there are approximately 8.1 million people living with diabetes who are undiagnosed. Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugar and the food you eat turns into sugar. Both types of diabetes (Type I and Type II) result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes takes a toll on your entire body, but it can also increase your risk of dental disease and other symptoms that show up in your mouth.
There is quite a list of common symptoms to indicate that you may have diabetes. A simple blood test will reveal what your blood sugar readings are and will help to determine if you have diabetes. If you have any of the following symptoms, make an appointment to see your medical doctor right away, and then make an appointment with Dr. Porter for a full dental cleaning and examination.
If you have diabetes, it’s likely that you have oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease, and if you’re over 50, your risk of having problems with your mouth is even higher. Controlling your diabetes will protect your teeth and gums, and with your teeth and gums in check, that component will help you manage your diabetes.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those with diabetes, primarily because poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise, which makes diabetes harder to control because you’re more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.
The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher the supply of sugars and starches which cause more acid that wears away at the enamel of your teeth. Diabetes also reduces your ability to fight bacteria and over a period of time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. Uncontrolled diabetes means more sugar in your saliva, which is a banquet for bacteria. It’s important to keep your blood sugar in check and brush and floss daily. It’s also a good idea to rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash, to help stop most tooth and gum disease before it has a chance to set in.
If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, a more serious type of gum disease that erodes the bone and tissues that support your teeth. In the worst-case scenario, this leads to tooth loss. Ignoring daily oral care, such as flossing and brushing regularly, allows bacteria and plaque to build up on your teeth. This causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and creates pockets where bacteria begin to wage war deep inside your gums, mouth and bones. Periodontitis can’t be reversed and can’t be treated with brushing and flossing alone. Dr. Porter will likely need to provide special treatment and possibly oral surgery, if your teeth and gums have reached this point.
Diabetes affects saliva production and puts you at risk for dry mouth. Saliva makes the enzymes that attack bacteria and without it, bacteria can grow out of control. Dry mouth can lead to sores and ulcers along with tooth decay and gum disease. Following are ways to help curb dry mouth.
Regular dental visits are important. Research indicates that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by Dr. Porter can help to lower your A1c, a blood test that indicates how well you are controlling your diabetes.
Dr. Porter and the whole team at Premier Dentistry of Eagle are here to help you with your family’s dental needs. Our office is located in Eagle, Idaho at 467 South Rivershore Lane and is easily accessible to patients in the surrounding communities of Star, Middleton, Meridian, Garden City, and Boise. Call our office at (208) 546-0655 or check online to make an appointment.
If you have diabetes, there is no time like the present. The sooner you begin oral treatment, the better your chances are for winning the battle with gum disease and potential tooth loss. We hope to see you soon!