The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing oral health problems. Diabetes weakens the immune system and makes the body less capable of fighting off infections and bacteria. As a result, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious health condition that affects the body's ability to process sugar. Over time, it can damage the nerves and small blood vessels that supply blood to your teeth. It can also weaken your immune system, which can leave you more vulnerable to infection.

As your body struggles to regulate your blood sugar levels, your gums may become inflamed. This can lead to gingivitis and other gum problems. If left untreated, gum disease can progress into periodontitis, which is an advanced form of gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss. If you suffer from diabetes, it's important to practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist on a regular basis to prevent or treat oral infections.

How Common Is Diabetes?

In the United States, approximately 25 million people have diabetes. In fact, half of all Americans who have diabetes don't even know they have it. And many of them don't seek the treatment they need for fear of being reprimanded or because of misinformation.

Here are four ways people with diabetes might be putting their oral health at risk:

Mismanaged blood sugar can lead to gum disease.

People with diabetes have a higher risk of periodontal disease. That's because poorly controlled diabetes makes it harder for the body to fight infection, allowing bacteria in the mouth to damage the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. Diabetics are also more likely to experience dry mouth—an issue that further contributes to gum disease. 

Poor oral hygiene makes controlling blood sugar levels harder.

Managing blood glucose levels requires more diligence than just watching what you eat. You have to clean and care for your teeth every day to prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. However, if your blood sugar isn't well-controlled, it may be more difficult for you to practice good hygiene habits. This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise even further and lead to even more complications.

Oral infections can make managing blood sugar harder.

If you've had an oral infection, this can make your blood glucose harder to control. It's especially important to treat the infection right away to avoid further complications.

Medications used to treat diabetes can take a toll on your oral health.

If you have diabetes and take medication for it, you may notice that some of those side effects include bad breath, dry mouth, cavities, swollen gums, and sores in your mouth. Your dentist may be able to recommend certain toothpaste and rinses to help alleviate these side effects.

At Dynamic Dental Services, we offer the best dental care possible to each of our patients in a positive and relaxing environment. If you're ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us at (773) 538-6191 or visit us at 5401 S. WENTWORTH AVE. #200, Chicago, IL 60609. 

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