The Link Between Diabetes and Dental Health

(MS) – Regular dental checkups are essential to maintaining oral health. In addition to preventing dental caries and removing tartar that contributes to gum disease, dental checkups can alert patients to other potential health problems. For example, symptoms of periodontal disease may be indicative of the presence of diseases that stem from conditions outside of the mouth, including diabetes.

Diabetes, a condition of uncontrolled blood sugar or insulin production, can affect many areas of the body, including the mouth. Diabetics face a high risk of oral health problems because of fluctuating levels of blood sugar, which impairs white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s main defense against disease and are dispatched when a virus or bacteria is present. Should white blood cells be rendered less effective, the body’s defense system is compromised and infections can occur in the mouth and elsewhere.

Those with diabetes may complain of certain oral symptoms. Uncontrolled diabetes can result in a decrease in saliva flow, which leads to dry mouth. Saliva is important to wash away bacteria in the mouth.

Gum inflammation can occur because diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, slowing the flow of waste and nutrients from bodily tissues. An increase in bacteria and the compromised state of white blood cells creates the perfect environment for periodontal disease. In addition, uncontrolled diabetes can make it more difficult for the mouth and other areas of the body to heal. Consequently, there may be recurrent mouth infections, sores and other symptoms of irritation. Thrush, a condition of overabundant yeast in the body that can cause white patches and soreness in the mouth, is also more prevalent among diabetics.

The American Diabetes Association says that not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Many people are unaware they have diabetes until an oral health exam raises a red flag that warns of uncontrolled blood sugar.

Those who are aware of their diabetes should take treatment seriously to keep blood sugar levels in check. They also should discuss their diabetes with a dentist and other oral health practitioners. Give us a call at Perfect Smile Tulsa for a custom exam. We are here to help you maintain oral health to reduce the risk of infections of the mouth that can spread elsewhere throughout the body.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What is TMJ?

What is TMJ disorder? What are some of the symptoms? What causes TMJ disorder? How can I fix TMJ disorder?

Why your at-home teeth whitening doesn't work

Tried all the teeth whitening kits, but still have dull, stained, or yellow teeth? Read on to find out why your at-home teeth whitening doesn't work and what you can do to get a brighter, whiter smile.