Teeth and Diabetes – What You Don’t Know

Diabetes is a disease affecting over 100 million people in America. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. While there is much research involved in managing the disease, there is no cure. It affects your body’s ability to transport sugar from your blood to the cells in various parts of your body that need it for energy. Instead, the sugar just remains in your blood causing many problems with your organs, limbs, eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, and even your mouth.

Yes, even your mouth is affected by diabetes. The connection between teeth and diabetes is something most people are not even aware of. For example did you know that diabetes affects your mouth’s ability to produce saliva? Saliva is responsible for helping you speak, taste food, and manage bacteria in your mouth. If diabetes is left untreated, you might have issues producing saliva in your mouth. This can lead to gingivitis, infections inside you mouth, as well as a higher risk of cavities.

Let’s talk about gum disease. Gum disease, also known as Periodontitis, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. This disease is caused by poor brushing and flossing habits which lead to plaque buildup. Once plaque hardens it becomes tartar which eventually causes sore and bleeding gums, painful gums, painful chewing, and tooth loss. A common risk factor for gum disease is diabetes. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. Gum problems may occur in people with diabetes because of poor blood sugar control. People with diabetes have a greater inflammatory response to the bacteria in the mouth thus causing the heightened risk.

If you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic, talk to your dentist. Your dentist can help you fight diabetes! Studies suggest that the treatment of serious gum (periodontal) disease in diabetics with Type 2 diabetes may lower their blood sugar levels which can significantly decrease the progression of the disease. It’s very important to practice good oral hygiene in order to reduce risk of gum disease. Plus, having regular deep cleanings by a professional can help manage the common risk factors and even the disease itself.

Working together with your dentist can offer the best approach to oral health care, especially when living with ailments such as diabetes. Maintaining a consistent at-home routine such as avoiding smoking, cleaning dentures daily, brushing twice daily and flossing once per day, and eating healthy foods will put you on the best path to oral health. Combine that with regular visits with your dentist, you’ll be giving your oral health the rightful attention it needs. Your smile is one of your best assets and we are here to help you keep it healthy and in good shape.

We’d love to talk to you about your dental needs. Dr. Demetriou practices a full scope of general and cosmetic dentistry. A dental checkup can benefit more than just your teeth! Dentists can spot a variety of other health problems just by looking into your mouth. Our office is located at 451 Andover Street, Suite G8, North Andover, MA. Call us at 1 978-794-0010.