High blood sugar, which is the result of both types of diabetes, may cause damage to the eyes, nerves, and heart when not controlled.
What many people aren’t aware of is that having diabetes can take a toll on your gums and teeth as well. One in three Canadians has diabetes or prediabetes, with less than half of the population aware of the early warning signs of the disease.
The impact of diabetes on oral health can be so significant that a dentist can catch the early signs of the disease through a routine checkup.
Although diabetes has no cure, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly helps prevent any damage to your oral and overall health.
All About Diabetes
Diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body turns food into energy.
The glucose found in the food you consume is broken down and sent into the bloodstream, signaling the pancreas to produce insulin when the level of sugar gets too high. This hormone moves the sugar in your blood to the cells to be stored and used for energy later.
However, individuals with diabetes either are unable to produce enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin produced. When high blood sugar is not treated, it can begin to affect major organs in the body, including your eyes, heart, and nerves, but also your teeth and gums.
The first step in protecting your oral health is learning about the signs and symptoms of untreated diabetes.
- Delay in wound healing
- Swollen or bleeding gums when brushing and flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Having less saliva than usual
- Getting infections often
The warning signs of diabetes affect every part of your body, which can make it difficult to suspect the disease immediately.
Impact of Diabetes on Oral Health
While everyone is at risk of developing periodontitis or dental caries, individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to these oral health complications.
One of the most inconspicuous signs of diabetes is dry mouth, which is a condition where your mouth slows the production of saliva. Without the protective enzymes in the saliva to battle harmful bacteria in your mouth, you become at risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Not only does diabetes raise the glucose levels in your blood, but it does so in your saliva as well. Like bacteria, fungi thrive on the excess sugar in your saliva and create fungal yeast infections in your mouth called thrush. This infection presents itself as white spots on your tongue or inside of your cheeks and can lead to bad breath.
People with diabetes become more susceptible to infections and have slower healing, causing medical procedures to take longer to complete.
Maintain Your Oral Health with Costello Family Dentistry
The body’s main defense against bacterial infections is white blood cells, which are weakened due to diabetes.
Like all health issues, it’s best to perform preventive measures rather than treat them as they get worse. Having a good oral hygiene routine, maintaining a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year will help keep any complications at bay.
Our expert team of dental hygienists at Costello Family Dentistry work hard to provide our patients with a high-quality level of service every time they pay us a visit.
Get in touch with us to learn more about the impacts of diabetes on oral health and book your appointment today.