How Does Diabetes Affect Your Oral Health?
Did you know that approximately 2 million Canadians live with diabetes? This means that 1 in every 16 people have been diagnosed with diabetes corresponding to 8.1% of the population. Diabetes is a condition that affects your body’s ability to process sugar.
People who have diabetes can’t produce sufficient insulin needed to convert starch, sugar, and other foods into energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t get the energy it needs to perform its functions, and your blood sugar level stays high.
Diabetes is a health complication that can affect your whole body parts including the eyes, kidneys, heart, nerves, and other critical components. It can also affect your mouth. People with diabetes face a relatively higher than normal risk of contracting oral health problems.
Why Are People with Diabetes More Prone to Oral Health Problems?
Research shows that the primary link between diabetes and oral health problems is a high blood sugar level. If your body system can’t control your blood sugar level properly, you are more likely to develop oral health complications since high blood sugar weakens your white blood cells.
The primary function of the white blood cells is to defend your body against bacterial infections that can occur anywhere including your mouth. The good news is that controlling your diabetes can go a long way towards protecting your teeth and gums.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, consider visiting your dentist Laval office more often since you are at risk of developing periodontal disease and other oral diseases.
Oral Health Problems Associated with Diabetes
People who have been diagnosed with diabetes face a relatively higher risk of:
- Periodontitis and gum inflammation: Besides weakening your white blood cells, another effect of diabetes is that it leads to the thickening of your blood vessels which slows down the regular flow of essential nutrients to and waste products from various body tissues including the mouth.
When this happens, mouth tissues lose their ability to fight infections. Since gum disease is a bacterial infection, individuals with uncontrolled diabetes might experience frequent and more severe periodontitis.
- Dry Mouth: Uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to decreased saliva flow resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth is a serious oral condition that can lead to tooth decay, ulcers, soreness, and other bacterial infections.
- Fungal Infection: Bacteria aren’t the only organisms that love sugar. So do fungi which are the primary reason why fungal yeast infections, commonly referred to as thrush, is common among people with diabetes.
Thrush causes red or white patches on your tongue and inside your cheeks. Sometimes, these patches turn into open sores.
The yeast in your mouth thrives on the extra sugar in your saliva and loves the moist spots in your mouth such as the areas under loose-fitting dentures. Thrush is a mouth infection that is prevalent among people living with diabetes.
Diabetes Dental Health Care Action Plan
Comprehensive teamwork involving relentless self-care and professional care from your dentist Laval expert will be critical in keeping your healthy smile as well as slowing down the progression of diabetes. Here are a few things that diabetes patients can do to prevent oral diseases:
- Avoid smoking
- Control your sugar blood level by sticking to the recommended diabetes-related medications
- Change to a healthier diet that limits your sugar intake
- If you wear dentures, make sure you clean them every day
- Ensure that you brush your teeth at least twice every day with a soft toothbrush and be sure to clean between your teeth as well
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups