Diabetes affects more than 34 million Americans each year, which is about 10% of the United States population. It is a chronic condition that comes in two forms: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is a condition in which little to no insulin is produced in the pancreas. Type 2 occurs when the body is insulin resistant, causing abnormal blood sugar levels.
Diabetes harms your oral health because it causes high blood sugar. High blood sugar causes weakened white blood cells in the body. Normally, white blood cells help to fight against infection and germs. The weakened white blood cells are unable to fight bacterial infections found in the mouth, leading to oral health problems.
What To Watch For
People with diabetes have an increased risk of gum disease. Gum disease is a painful infection of the bone and gums that starts off as gum irritation but can lead to potential tooth loss if not treated. The first symptoms of gum disease are swollen and bleeding gums, a dry mouth, white patches, or soreness. A dental visit is critical if any of these symptoms are noticed.
How to Maintain Oral Health With Diabetes
- Keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. During dental appointments, inform your dentist of any blood sugar episodes and the frequency of your insulin doses.
- Schedule dentist appointments to check your teeth and gums every six months. This will ensure any bacterial infections are caught early in their development.
- Brush your teeth twice a day or after every meal and floss regularly. This will prevent plaque buildup on the teeth.
- Quit smoking if possible. Smoking makes the mouth susceptible to infections.
If you have any underlying medical issues and are concerned about how they may have an affect on your dental health, we are happy to discuss this matter with you. Our top goal is to keep you as healthy as possible. Please call our Baldwinsville office today to schedule an appointment.