Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar which is the main source of energy for our bodies. When our body’s ability to control blood glucose levels is impacted, it can result in unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood. This can result in long term and short term health complications.
Types of Diabetes
It usually accounts from 10% of all diabetes. In this type, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin.
It usually accounts for 85% of all diabetes. In this type, body does not respond to insulin as it should.
Gestational Diabetes: It can occur in pregnant females.
Why should I worry about Diabetes?
Although with proper medication and lifestyle changes Diabetes can be managed but there can be potential complications. Diabetes is the leading cause of
- Blindness in working age adults
- Kidney Failure and Dialysis
- Increased risk of Heart Attack and Stroke (by up to 4 times)
- Limb amputations
- Depression, Anxiety and Distress
Does Diabetes affect oral health?
Diabetes can impact your oral health in many ways. Mouth can often be overlooked as an area of the body with complications related to Diabetes. Oral complications can include
Advanced gum disease (Periodontitis)
Patients with Diabetes have a greater risk of developing gum disease, particularly when blood glucose levels are not within the recommended range of 4-7 mmol / L. It can be early gum disease (Gingivitis) or advanced gum disease (Periodontitis).
If this Gum Disease is left untreated, it can cause bad breath, bleeding from gum, loose teeth, inability to chew food properly and eventually tooth loss. Having Poor gum health will in turn worsen your Diabetes as it impacts one’s ability to maintain stable blood glucose levels. It is therefore very important to let your dentist know if you have Diabetes and to get regular oral health checks to insure that you do not have signs of gum disease.
- Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Diabetes can also cause a decrease in saliva production. This can cause a dry feeling within the mouth as salivary flow is reduced. Saliva helps to protect the teeth against decay, therefore, a reduction in amount of saliva can make a person more prone to decay.
- Delayed or Poor wound healing
Diabetes slows down your body’s ability to heal itself. This can result in poor wound healing or delayed wound healing after having an oral surgical procedure done. For example, removal of wisdom tooth or surgery for placement of dental implant. There is a higher risk of complications such as infection or longer healing time.
What to do?
As soon as you find out if you have Diabetes, inform your Dentist. If you have gum disease and are aware of it let your physician know, Your Dentist and Physician work together to help you manage Diabetes as well as your Dental Health. Schedule an appointment for Professional cleaning of teeth every 6 months. It helps you to find out about early signs of gum disease, cavities and any other oral diseases or conditions. This helps you to take appropriate measures to stop anything from getting worse.