07 Jul 2018 How does diabetes affect your oral health?
Almost 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Over 8 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it – yet. But what does it mean for your oral health?
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that means the body has trouble producing or responding to insulin. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and higher levels of glucose in the blood than is healthy.
For those with Type I diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, so too much glucose stays in your blood. With Type II diabetes, the body stops responding to insulin and again too much sugar ends up in your blood. Having too much glucose in your blood can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body – and of course, your mouth!
Some symptoms of undiagnosed or mismanaged diabetes include:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry and this can lead to a higher risk of cavities as well.
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often.
- You can have problems tasting food
- You might experience delayed wound healing
- For children with diabetes, teeth may come in earlier than usual
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth
So what can you do about it?
Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, slowing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help too.
Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and clean between your teeth daily.
See your dentist for regular checkups. If you have diabetes and you’re worried about your dental health right now, you can get a dental report from the comfort of your home. Simply download Toothpic and follow our step by step plan, whether you want an overall review or have a problem you want to check out.