Diabetes affects every aspect of your life. From ensuring your blood sugar is at the right level to keeping up with regular exercise, managing diabetes is no easy task. You must be aware of many complications that can arise from diabetes, and your oral health is no exception. Since it’s National Diabetes Month, we have provided information and tips to consider regarding the relationship between diabetes and your oral health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29.1 million Americans have diabetes—and 8.1 million of those do not know they have the disease. If you’re not sure if you might have diabetes, the first step to taking care of your body is finding out if that’s the case. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:
More symptoms that can indicate longer term damage caused by diabetes include:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, go see your physician and get tested for diabetes. For your oral health, the symptoms take a while longer to show that actual damage that is occurring in your mouth if left untreated. Keep notice for symptoms like:
These are all signs of gingivitis, which if left untreated, can turn into periodontitis.
There are a few major ways diabetes affects your mouth. First, if your blood sugar levels are left unchecked, the glucose level of your saliva rises. Glucose is a type of sugar, and bacteria loves sugar, which will speed up the progress of gum disease. Second, with diabetes, your blood vessels thicken, making it harder for them to deliver oxygen and nutrients, as well as to take away waste. Lastly, a symptom of diabetes is dry mouth. Saliva helps keep the bacteria from sticking to your teeth, and a lack of saliva makes it easier for plaque and tartar to develop.
Whether you have diabetes or not, it is still very important to take care of your mouth. Recent studies have shown that not only are people with diabetes more likely to be afflicted by periodontal disease, but people with periodontal disease are more susceptible to getting diabetes as well.