Diabetes causes many health problems, and that's a fact. But what about the connection between diabetes and oral health problems? Is there even a connection worth talking about?
Yes, there is a connection and we are going to talk about this connection. So sit back, relax, and continue reading.
Diabetes, tooth loss, and other dental problems
Tooth decay is a serious issue for those with diabetes. If you have high or elevated blood glucose, you're actually feeding the bacteria that produces harmful acids.
Then the acids erode healthy tooth enamel, which in turn causes tooth decay and possible tooth loss.
Actually, a study reported on this webpage indicated a link between diabetes and tooth loss. Dr. Edmond Hewlett, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, said (regarding the study), "They did indeed find there was a clear connection between tooth loss and diabetes, especially among African Americans.”
It’s a fact that diabetics can lose up to twice as many teeth as those who don’t have diabetes.
Unfortunately, “very few doctors” are following the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations to refer diabetic patients to a dentist, according to a lead researcher, Bei Wu who is also a professor of nursing and global health at Duke University in Durham, NC (reported on this webpage: http://consumer.healthday.com/dental-and-oral-information-9/misc-dental-problem-news-174/another-downside-to-diabetes-tooth-loss-705862.html).
Doctors should understand that diabetic patients need to practice routine dental care.
Diabetes and gum disease
According to 2014 statistics, nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and there is an "increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes, adding serious gum disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease."
Furthermore, research indicates that "gum disease progresses more than twice as fast in people with diabetes as in those without." It is very important to control your diabetes as best as possible if you want healthy teeth and gums. If you don't control diabetes, it is more difficult to treat gum disease.
If you have diabetes, it is best to take care of your teeth as best as possible. This includes routine cleaning and checkup appointments with your dentist as often as he or she recommends for your unique situation.
You can also try to prevent dental issues in connection with diabetes by:
- controlling your blood glucose levels. This can help to relieve or control dry mouth that's often caused by diabetes. Also, high blood sugar levels can impair your body to heal from oral infections, which makes you more susceptible to gum disease.
- taking care of your teeth and gums with regular checkups and teeth cleanings every 6 months or as often as your dentist recommends.
- removing your dentures (if you wear them) on a daily basis to clean them.
- avoiding smoking cigarettes and nicotine products.
If you are diabetic and are concerned about your oral health, call Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today. We can schedule a checkup appointment with you to give you the dental care you need and deserve. If you live in or near Alpharetta, GA, call us today.