There are around 30 million people living with diabetes in the USA. That is around 10% of the population. Also, around 8 million of these people don’t even know that they have diabetes.
Diabetes is really dangerous for your overall health. It affects the body ability to process sugar as all the sugar from the food you eat, need to be turned in energy. So, in first type of diabetes, the body won’t make enough insulin. And in the second one, the body just stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.
So how diabetes does affects your oral health? First, it is important to know the signs of diabetes.
If diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth as well. Here’s how:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. (Dry mouth is also caused by certain medications.)
- Because saliva protects your teeth, you’re also at a higher risk of cavities.
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
- You may have problems tasting food.
- You may experience delayed wound healing.
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
- For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.
How Your Dentist Can Help You Fight Diabetes
Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c. (This is a lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar over the previous three months. It indicates how well you are controlling your diabetes.)