How Diabetes Affect Oral Health

Posted by Dr. Jamison Mar 30, 2023

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Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body processes sugar or glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for your body’s cells, and your pancreas creates insulin to help transport the glucose into your cells. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, as opposed to type 2 diabetes, which is when the body can’t use its own insulin properly – often because there’s too much glucose in the bloodstream.

Diabetes and Oral Health

Your mouth isn’t immune to the changes that diabetes causes in your body. In fact, diabetes can have a significant impact on your oral health. With diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing gum disease, oral infections, and even tooth loss.

Gum disease and tooth decay are common in people with diabetes because the excess glucose in a person’s body interacts with their saliva and the plaque that builds up on the teeth and gums. This interaction can produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel and lead to cavities and decay. The gums also become inflamed and often bleed easily. These changes increase your risk of losing your teeth.

Additionally, people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing thrush and other fungal infections. Thrush is the result of an overgrowth of candida bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars that come from food as well as starches from starchy foods such as bread, pasta, and crackers. When eating these foods, it’s a good idea to floss and brush soon after to prevent these bacteria from building up in your mouth. Diabetics need to take extra care of their oral health by coming in for regular cleaning and exams. This helps them prevent any oral health problems caused by their condition.

Early Signs of Gum Disease

People with diabetes are at increased risk for developing gingivitis, which is indicated by red, swollen gums that bleed during brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can progress to periodontitis if not treated properly. When this happens, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets where food and plaque can become trapped. Over time, these bacteria-filled pockets can break down the bone and connective tissue holding teeth in place, leading to tooth loss.

If untreated, it can lead to gum recession and bone loss. This can ultimately result in loose teeth as well as serious complications like malnutrition and respiratory illness due to difficulty eating. 

To learn more, visit Hendricks Family Dentistry, a trusted dentist in Brunswick, OH. Locate them at 4181 Center Road, Brunswick, OH 44212, or call 1-833-336-7533. We look forward to working with you and helping you get your best smile. 

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