November is National Diabetes Awareness month, but you may not realize how this rampant disease affects your oral health. Over 9% of Americans suffer from diabetes—that’s more than 29 million people! With elevated levels of sugar, diabetes poses a great threat to oral health.
It’s important to be aware of this health risk so you can properly care for your teeth and take the necessary precautions to maintain your oral health. Here’s what you need to know about how diabetes affects your oral health.
Diabetes and Oral Health
The most common type of diabetes is type 2 with insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that causes your body to use, or store, glucose (sugar) from the food you eat. With insulin resistance, sugar levels are raised which causes damage to your body, including your mouth.
- Weakened Gums—an increase of glucose keeps blood vessels from functioning properly, which means you can’t sufficiently fight the millions of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria leave gums weakened, developing disease faster.
- Periodontal Disease—generally due to bacteria in the mouth infecting the tissue around the teeth, periodontal issues are an increased risk to those with diabetes. Restricted blood vessels reduce the flow of nutrients and the removal of body waste, weakening the gums and bones. This leads to swelling and bleeding of the gums, and more serious periodontitis with the gums pulling away from the teeth.
The circulatory issues caused by diabetes prevent your mouth from naturally fighting the millions of bacteria that live there. Left untreated, it can lead to painful decay of gums, bone, and teeth.
Maintaining Oral Health
Be sure to keep regular appointments for cleanings, and talk to your dentist to see if more frequent cleanings are needed. Some dental insurance plans provide more frequent cleanings for diabetes patients.
Floss and brush your teeth daily to reduce the levels of bacteria in your mouth as much as possible.
It is crucial to maintain your oral health, especially as it pertains to diabetes. There is a direct connection between the mouth and the rest of the body, with the health of one affecting the other.
At LeCroy Dental, we understand that maintaining your oral health better controls your diabetes, and enhances your overall health. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.