Believe it or not, diabetes is a health condition that can make the practice of maintaining good oral health much more difficult. This is because both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have been shown to increase the risk of tooth decay, fungal infections in the mouth, and even gum disease. If you or someone you know has diabetes, it is important that you know how to be proactive about oral health.
Today, Advanced Indiana will be exploring the connection between diabetes and your oral health. When operating with these facts in mind, you can make maintaining your oral health and good oral hygiene easier despite the impact of diabetes.
How Diabetes Impacts Oral Health
When we talk about the effects that diabetes can have on our oral health, one of the primary concerns that you should know about is how diabetes reduces the body’s ability to efficiently fight infection by suppressing the immune system. Because of this, patients with diabetes can have a significantly more difficult time warding off bacterial and fungal infections in the mouth. One common condition that patients with diabetes suffer from is thrush.
Thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a condition in which a fungus known as Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of the mouth. Thrush causes white lesions that are usually found on the inner cheeks and tongue. In more severe cases, these lesions can spread to the gums, tonsils, the back of the throat, and even the roof of the mouth.
Another way that diabetics see their condition impacting their oral health is through an accelerated rate of tooth decay. Patients with diabetes typically produce less saliva than someone with normal insulin control levels. This can cause dry mouth, which accelerates tooth decay due to the fact that there is less saliva to combat disease in a patient’s mouth.
How Common is Gum Disease in People with Diabetes?
Believe it or not, according to the American Dental Association, an estimated 22% of people with diabetes also suffer from gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. It should also be noted that tooth loss is incredibly common in people with diabetes. This is illustrated by reports from a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology that only 6.4% of those studied who had diabetes still had all 32 natural teeth.
So, overall, why do people with diabetes stand a higher risk of developing certain oral health conditions? Put simply, the American Dental Association states that those with diabetes have a reduced ability to efficiently fight off bacteria in the mouth which can impact the gums over time. Secondly, those with diabetes are also much more susceptible to bacterial infections than the average person.
How to Protect Your Oral Health Despite Diabetes
If you or someone you know has diabetes, it is important to know that there are meaningful steps that can be taken to prioritize and protect oral health. When it comes to working proactively as someone with diabetes to prioritize your oral health, the first step is to practice good oral hygiene and make regular appointments with your local dentist.
For people with diabetes, it is even more crucial to practice good oral hygiene than in someone without the condition. For this reason, you should be proactive in maintaining a regular routine that includes proper brushing and flossing techniques. You should also pay extra care to areas of the mouth such as the gumline and tongue. That being said, it is also important to maintain a dedicated diet that is low in sugar, as research has shown that glucose levels that are poorly controlled result in increased complications from diabetes such as gum disease and other oral conditions.
Finally, you can further protect yourself in terms of your oral health despite diabetes by avoiding smoking. The effects of tobacco on your teeth can greatly impact your oral health, making you even more likely to experience oral conditions that have been known to have a link to diabetes. For example, smoking greatly increases the risk of developing periodontal disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. By avoiding smoking, you can reduce the risk of developing such oral conditions.
Don’t Let Diabetes Negatively Impact Your Oral Health!
Now that you know some of the most common ways in which diabetes can have a negative impact on your oral health, it’s time to take the necessary steps to protect yourself. As we mentioned above, one of the best ways of combating the impact that diabetes can have on your teeth is by keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your dentist.
At Advanced Indiana, we will work alongside you to be proactive about your oral health. It is highly recommended that people with diabetes have their teeth and gums cleaned and checked by their dentist at least twice a year. Additionally, your dentist can help you determine exactly how often you will need checkups based on your individual needs. Our dentists are prepared to help you! Give us a call today or schedule an appointment online.