Diabetes and Your Oral Health

diabetes3Diabetes affects 29.1 million Americans, roughly 9.3 percent of the population. Approximately 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year—and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.

Whether you have Type I or Type II diabetes, both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes can also increase your risk of dental disease and other symptoms that show up in your mouth. In fact, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes.

General warning signs of diabetes include being thirsty all the time, frequent urination, weight loss and fatigue. As far as your oral health goes, here are some other things to look out for if you are diabetic:

  • Bleeding when you brush or floss may be an early sign of periodontal or gum disease, which only worsens when blood sugar is not kept under control. Gum disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22 percent of those diagnosed. If gum disease is severe, the bone that supports the teeth can break down, leading to tooth loss.
  • People with diabetes have less saliva, so dry mouth can be an issue. Lack of saliva to wash away food particles can lead to more cavities.
  • If you are diabetic, your sense of taste may change. Foods may not taste as rich, prompting you to add more sugar. You may also experience a persistent bad taste in your mouth.
  • Because diabetes affects the immune system, it leaves you more vulnerable to infection, including the yeast infection known as oral thrush (candidiasis). Thrush appears as a white layer coating the tongue and the insides of the cheeks.
  • Slow healing is another sign of diabetes. Poor control of blood sugar can keep mouth sores or injuries from healing quickly and properly.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

If you are diabetic, please be sure to let us know. Dr. Angell and our staff at Angell’s Dentistry will team up with you to help you lessen the impact of diabetes on your oral health. Practicing good oral hygiene and having our hygienists do regular professional deep cleanings can help to lower your HbA1c, the lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar over the previous three months.

Angell’s Dentistry is committed to providing each of our patients with a beautiful, healthy smile and unmatched dental care. Be sure to visit our website at: www.angellsdentistry.com.

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