The Connection Between Diabetes & Oral Health

diabetes screening for oral health

It is estimated that 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes. This means that approximately 37.3 Americans have diabetes and not all of them may be aware of the dental concerns linked to diabetes. The National Institute of Health defines diabetes as a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar known as glucose. Glucose is a source of energy that powers our body.

All types of diabetes can lead to excess sugar in the blood that can lead to health problems including issues with oral health. 

During the month of November, the Sisko Dental team of Tallmadge is recognizing Diabetes Awareness month. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health and the effects of type 1 or type 2 diabetes on your teeth and gums, do not hesitate to call or schedule a diagnostic appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable doctors.

Diabetes-Related Conditions

Diabetes and its medication can contribute to several related conditions that affect our organs and nerves.  The symptoms of diabetes can directly affect your oral health. 

It is important that both dentists and patients are aware that the adverse effects of diabetes can create or worsen tooth, gum, and mouth diseases. Having more information may help prevent, treat, and manage these conditions and stop them from causing pain, discomfort, or even tooth loss. 

It is not uncommon for your general physician to fail to communicate the effects that diabetes and its medications have on our mouths. Undiagnosed diabetes also increases the risk of more severe diabetes symptoms including oral infection and gum disease. 

A dental health concern frequently related to diabetes is gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bones that hold the teeth in place. Left untreated, a small infection can grow and have more serious implications like tooth loss, ulcers, and worsening infections. Dr. Sisko has years of experience recognizing and treating such diseases. If the condition is severe or requires specialized equipment Dr. Sisko will work with local periodontists who can provide the proper care so patients can continue to have a healthy smile.  

Why Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth?

One way diabetes can affect your mouth is by slowing your body’s natural healing response. If left untreated, minor dental issues can develop into more severe dental issues that cannot be healed without medication or dental intervention.

Those with diabetes are also at a higher risk of dry mouth and fungal infection which lead to more severe tooth issues like tooth decay. 

5 Signs You of Gum Disease 

There are many factors that contribute to gum disease including heredity, diet, smoking, diabetes mellitus (sugar control disorder), stress, and certain medications. As you can see, anyone can develop gum disease. However, it is important to note the increased likelihood for those with higher than normal blood sugar levels which is a common concern for those with diabetes.

Five common signs of gum disease are:

1. bleeding gums

2. dry mouth

3. white patches

4. bad taste

5. bad smell

If you are someone you know has one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with our office to properly diagnose the issue and prevent any further damage to your oral health. 

Tips to Prevent Gum Disease with Diabetes

Having leveled blood glucose prevents many of the dental issues that arise from diabetes. Some things you can do if you have diabetes to improve your oral health are the following: 

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels

  • Brush 2x per day and floss regularly

  • Schedule regular dental cleanings & checkups.

  • Talk to your dentist about diabetes and any concerns

  • Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease or sensitivity in your teeth or gums

  • Quit smoking
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