Diabetes is a condition that affects the body's ability to regulate sugar levels in the blood. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to many complications, including problems with your oral health. In fact, diabetes is one of the leading causes of tooth loss among adults in the United States.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. This form of diabetes usually develops in children and young adults but can develop in adults as well.
Type 2 diabetes is triggered by lifestyle factors and genetics and usually occurs in adults. Our bodies develop insulin resistance over time, which disrupts the way our bodies process sugar (glucose).
Both types of diabetes have oral side effects, as people with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease, tooth decay, dry mouth, and other oral health concerns. In fact, periodontal disease is the most common complication of diabetes.
Diabetes can cause a variety of oral health issues, including gum disease. Gum disease occurs when bacteria in the mouth cause inflammation of the gums. This causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where more bacteria can grow and cause tooth decay.
High blood sugar increases your risk for dry mouth. A dry mouth can lead to bad breath and a burning sensation in the mouth, as well as increase the risk of developing cavities.
People with diabetes are more likely to have serious oral infections that can even lead to death. If you have diabetes and notice any changes in your oral health, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible.
Maintaining proper blood sugar levels is imperative for your overall well-being, but you also need to be aware of how it can impact your oral health. Managing your diabetes means that you're more likely to have well-controlled blood sugars, so you're less likely to experience dry mouth or oral infections. In addition to maintaining proper glucose levels, be sure to brush your teeth twice every day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You also need to floss daily, use an alcohol-free mouthwash, and eat a healthy diet to keep your mouth clean.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it's important to see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums with preventative care and by recommending other treatments, such as sealants or night guards. If you are already experiencing complications due to diabetes, your dentist can recommend additional treatments for your condition.
At Dr. Stan's Exceptional Dentistry, we offer the best tips to keep your teeth healthy. Call us at (650) 328-1223 or schedule an appointment online with our Dentist in Palo Alto, CA, for the best dental care and experience.