Every November at my dental office in Mill Creek, we like to acknowledge American Diabetes Month which is dedicated to raising awareness to the disease the affects nearly 30 million Americans. Diabetes destabilizes blood sugar and may create a lot of problems throughout your body including issues with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, and heart. Additionally, your oral health may also be at risk, making it very important to see your dentist regularly if you’re diabetic.
Diabetics are more sensitive to bacteria, both in the body and in the mouth, than people without diabetes. Some diabetics have a reduced ability to fight off bacteria. This is particularly concerning for your dentist in Mill Creek since the mouth is already at risk for dangerous bacteria that could lead to serious oral health and whole-body problems.
One of the main oral health concerns associated with diabetes is gum disease. Gum disease can not only affect the health of your mouth, but if left untreated, could lead to serious problems throughout your body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. When a diabetic’s blood sugar is not controlled, glucose levels in the saliva can surge. This provides an environment where bacteria can thrive and the chance for problems increases.
Gingivitis, the less severe form of gum disease, can be treated fairly easily if it’s caught early. This makes keeping appointments at my Mill Creek dental office extremely important, especially if you’re diabetic and at a decreased ability to fight off infection and bacteria. If gum disease is not caught early, it could progress to a more serious form and could result in some pretty scary stuff.
Periodontitis occurs when gum disease is not treated and the gums actually begin to pull away from your teeth. With periodontitis, pockets between the teeth and gums provide a nice little home for bacteria thrive and infection to develop. This infection will begin to erode away the bone that holds teeth in place, resulting in loose teeth, shifting teeth, and can even cause teeth to fall out or need pulling.
In addition to gum disease, other oral health problems are associated with diabetes, all of which cause concerns of their own. The most common oral health problems linked to diabetes include:
Since those battling diabetes are at increased risk for serious oral health problems, it’s very important that they follow a strict, at-home preventive routine with daily flossing and brushing twice a day. Additionally, keeping your blood sugar within the normal range is good for both your body and your mouth.
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