Did you know that diabetes can impact your overall oral health? According to the CDC, diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into sugar. If you suffer from diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes as well as it should. If left untreated, it can cause serious health problems, such as vision loss, heart disease or kidney disease.
So what does this disease have to do with your smile? Keep reading to find out.
The Impact of Untreated Diabetes
If diabetes is left untreated, there are a number of ways it can impact your mouth. For starters, untreated diabetes can result in a decrease of saliva and dry mouth. Saliva is what helps wash away food particles from your teeth, preventing bacteria buildup. And because saliva helps protect your teeth in such an important way, you are now at an increased risk to develop cavities. Your risk of developing gum disease also increases. Your gums may feel inflamed and bleed often, and you are now more susceptible to developing infection in your mouth. There are other concerns to keep an eye out for as well, such as an inability to taste food or beverage.
Why Does Diabetes Make You More Prone to Gum Disease?
We know what you’re all wondering – what is the connection between diabetes and gum disease? How does one impact the other?
In order to understand the connection, it’s important to know that everyone has bacteria living in and on their teeth. When this bacteria makes home in your gums, it results in periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition that can destroy your gums and the tissues holding your teeth.
As with all serious infections, gum infections and periodontal disease can cause blood sugar to rise. When this happens, the diabetes becomes harder to control and you are more susceptible to bacteria and less able to fight off the bacteria. So, if your diabetes is unmanaged, you’re less likely to fight off bacteria, resulting in gum disease. If you suffer from gum disease, it can wreak havoc on your blood sugar, making it harder to treat the infection. See where we’re going with this?
How to Prevent
Luckily, there are easy ways to prevent all of this from happening! Regular visits with both your endocrinologist and dentist will ensure that everything is working together properly, and not against each other. Worried about how diabetes affects your risk for gum disease? Contact us today for your first exam and cleaning!