Diabetes is a very serious chronic disease that significantly increases the risk of oral and dental health problems, sometimes up to 80 percent for people with type 2 diabetes. Oral problems can become a major obstacle to proper regulation of blood glucose in diabetic patients. As such, it is hard to manage diabetes without first ensuring that you have a healthy mouth as noted by Hollywood dentist, Dr. Sally Kashani.
Likely Dental Problems for People with Diabetes
When suffering from diabetes, either type 1 or type 2, it is critical that you manage your blood sugar level to avoid a myriad of health conditions. With regard to your dental health, a higher blood sugar level increases your risk for:
- Tooth decay
The mouth contains different types of bacteria, some of which are beneficial and others harmful. The harmful bacteria act on the sugars and starch you consume to form plaque – a sticky and acidic film that covers your tooth surface. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque builds up on your teeth, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. Poor control of sugar levels among diabetic patients creates an ideal control for plaque buildup due to high glucose content in the mouth, leading to greater risk for tooth erosion and cavities.
- Gum disease
Diabetes increases your risk for all levels of gum disease, from the early and mild form known as gingivitis to the advanced level known as periodontitis. As mentioned before, the high glucose content in your mouth leads to bacteria buildup and the formation of plaque, which if not removed through regular brushing and flossing, hardens under your gumline to form a substance called calculus.
As more tartar continues to form, it increasingly irritates the gingival – the gum area around the base of your teeth – cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. These are the signs of gingivitis. It can be easily controlled and treated by proper at-home oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning.
But if left untreated, the buildup of tartar begins to destroy the soft and hard tissues around the teeth, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth (exposing the roots), and ultimately results in loose teeth that may even fall out. Periodontitis can only be treated by visiting your dentist for thorough root planing and scaling.
Oral Hygiene for Diabetes Patients
Diabetes patients tend to have considerably more severe cases of periodontitis because their condition reduces their ability to fight infection and slows healing. Moreover, periodontitis may cause a spike in blood sugar level, making diabetes harder to manage.
Generally, ensuring proper oral health can help to improve blood sugar control. This includes brushing and flossing daily, quitting smoking (aggravates gum disease), and visiting your Hollywood dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.