Oral Health and Diabetes

Oral Health and Diabetes

29.1 million US citizens are living with diabetes, which makes up for 9.3% of the total population. Interestingly, 8.1 million diabetic patients are not even aware of their condition until a major symptom occurs. Every year, around 1.7 million new cases of diabetes are registered. Diabetes is a life-long battle that leads to several health issues, including oral health problems.

Types of Diabetes

Our body processes the food that we eat into sugar and use it for energy. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the sugar levels in your body.

  • Type-I Diabetes: The body fails to make adequate insulin for carrying sugar from your blood to the cell that requires it for energy.
  • Type-II Diabetes: The responsive system to insulin stops working.

Both types can affect different parts of the body and may cause health conditions, such as kidney, heart diseases, and eye problems. Diabetic patients may feel excessively thirsty or urinate more frequently.

Diabetes Toll on Your Oral Health

As per a study conducted by the Global Burden of Disease, oral conditions affect half of the world’s population. Among these problems, decaying of teeth is the most common issue. While oral health is a global concern, people with diabetes are more prone to oral health problems. Untreated diabetes may cause diabetic patients to experience these problems.

·  Dry Mouth

Saliva keeps your mouth wet. However, high blood sugar may affect saliva production in the mouth. When the mouth produces less saliva, it goes dry. Less saliva allows bad bacteria and plaque to accumulate in the mouth. Saliva also protects your teeth, and less saliva means your teeth are prone to cavities.

·  Gingivitis

Diabetes weakens your body’s immune system. Skipping brushing and flossing allows plaque buildup in your mouth. Plaque may solidify under your gumline, turning into tartar. The longer the tartar stays in your mouth, the more it irritates the gums and leads to gingivitis infection. Gingiva inflames the gums and causes bleeding.

·  Periodontal Disease

22% of the people diagnosed with diabetes suffer from a serious dental infection, called periodontal disease. The infection damages the soft tissues and bones that hold your teeth. Periodontitis pulls away from the gums from the teeth and leads to tooth loss.

·  Mouth Infections

Since diabetes affects the supply of blood to the gums, people with diabetes are prone to gum diseases and bacterial mouth infections. Your tasting abilities may also get affected if you have diabetes. Your vulnerability to infections affects your body’s strength to fight oral bacteria intruding the gums.

Diabetes and Dental Care Tips

Treatment of diabetes is a life-long commitment. Negligence in health care may lead to other severe health issues. To protect your teeth and gums from deteriorating, take your dental care seriously.

  • Try to manage your blood sugar levels within the target range as per your doctor’s advice.
  • Controlled sugar levels make you less susceptible to gingivitis and other dental issues.
  • The first and last task of your day should be brushing your teeth. Use fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash as fluoride prevents cavities.
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing on your teeth and gums as it may cause bleeding.
  • Floss your teeth once a day and rinse your mouth after every meal.
  • Smoking worsens the effects of diabetes and may lead to complications, including tooth decay and tooth loss.
  • Visit your dentist regularly and adopt healthy hygiene habits.

If you stay tenacious to these tips, you can enjoy biting into your favorite foods even in the later years of life.

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