Diabetes is extremely common in America. The CDC has estimated that around 29 million people in America have diabetes. In addition, over 86 million more people in America have “prediabetes” and could develop the disease in the future.
More than 1 in 3 Americans with diabetes don’t even know that they have the disease! This, in turn, can have a big impact on their oral health. That’s why, at Dreier Family Dental, we focus on helping our patients understand diabetes, and the connection between diabetes and oral health.
Understanding The Link Between Diabetes And Oral Health
Diabetes affects the ability of your body to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is required to process starches and sugars into energy.
When this process is interrupted, quite a bit of sugar can build up in your blood, causing serious complications that damage your heart, liver, and kidneys, among other organs.
High blood sugar caused by diabetes also has an adverse effect on your oral health. Patients who have diabetes are at a higher risk of issues such as:
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)– High blood sugar causes dry mouth in diabetic patients, though the exact method by which this occurs is still unknown. Saliva is critical for washing away food particles and maintaining a healthy, non-acidic pH in your mouth. Diabetic patients may be at a higher risk of cavities if they have dry mouth.
- Periodontal disease – High blood sugar contributes to tissue inflammation. Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums, so diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing a serious case of periodontitis (gum disease.) There is also evidence that periodontal disease can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, due to bacteria from inflammation spreading throughout the body.
- Fungal infection (thrush) – Thrush is caused by the fungus known as Candida albicans. Most of us have this fungus in our mouths, but it is prevented from spreading by our saliva. However, dry mouth and high blood sugar can combine to create an ideal breeding ground for the fungus. This causes a painful infection which is characterized by sore white or red areas inside the mouth.
If you do suffer from diabetes, a regular 6-month teeth cleaning and oral exam can help you minimize the risk of serious oral health complications, such as those listed above.
Understand The Dental-Diabetes Connection And Get The Treatment You Need!
Your oral health and the health of the rest of your body are closely connected. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you could be at risk of developing severe oral health problems. But Dr. Brandon Dreier, Dr. Connie Winter, and Dr. Jim Winter of Dreier Family Dental can explain the best ways to prevent common oral health issues to keep your mouth healthy.
We pride ourselves on providing insightful and informative treatment, and giving our patients the tools they need to take control of their oral health. Schedule an appointment by calling 608-752-2931, or by coming by our office at 2630 Liberty Lane, Janesville, WI 53545. Get the treatment you need today!