Diabetes is a debilitating disease that negatively impacts the way your body responds to sugar. It affects more than 29 million adults in the United States. Moreover, about 84 million people (1 in 3 adults) have prediabetes! Read on to learn more about diabetes and how it can affect your oral health.
What Is Diabetes?
Type 1 Diabetes
A fully-functioning pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that signals your body to uptake glucose from your bloodstream to feed your cells. Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is not preventable at this time. Your body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells that are supposed to secrete insulin so you need injections of exogenous insulin to regulate your blood sugar.
Type 2 Diabetes & Prediabetes
In contrast, Type II diabetes is preventable. Due to a perpetually high level of sugar in your bloodstream, your body develops insulin-resistance and becomes inefficient in responding to the insulin released from the pancreas. Prediabetes is a precursor to type II diabetes.
How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes?
There are a few telltale signs and symptoms of diabetes:
- Excessive thirst, hunger & urination
- Weight loss
- High blood sugar
- Dry mouth
- Cavities & decay
- Impacted taste buds
- Bad breath that smells sweet & fruity
- Swollen, bleeding & painful gums (gum disease)
- Decreased circulation & healing due to damaged blood vessels
- Teeth that erupt very early
How Does Diabetes Impact Teeth?
If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay due to impaired circulation and dry mouth. These make it easier for bacteria to thrive in your mouth. In conjunction with diabetes, your chances skyrocket due to dental hygiene neglect, poor diet, and other preexisting oral conditions that allow bacteria to consistently get trapped under your gumline.
How Can I Improve My Oral Health with Diabetes?
No matter how healthy you are, daily brushing and flossing and biannual dental visits will help you maintain excellent oral health and will contribute positively to your overall health. Moreover, be sure to visit us every six months to check up on the health of your teeth and gums. It’s best to diagnose and treat tooth decay and gum disease before they progress. Most cavities just need to be cleaned out and fixed with a filling, but extensive decay requires root canal therapy or a tooth extraction. Additionally, early-stage gum disease may only need a deep cleaning to get under control, but more advanced gum disease may require a specialized treatment and frequent monitoring. Treatment for tooth decay and/or gum disease (and doing all you can to prevent these conditions) will greatly improve your oral health!
Schedule Your Next Checkup
If you have diabetes or are at risk for developing diabetes, our expert team at Arizona Biltmore Dentistry will create a personalized treatment plan to care for your smile. We’d love to give you tips to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today!