What’s the Link between Diabetes and Dental Health?

Posted on: Friday, July 20th, 2018


It’s no secret that type 2 diabetes poses a major threat to your health, but it’s not just your heart and your waistline that you need to worry about. Diabetes also has the potential to trigger ongoing oral health problems like gum disease, thrush, and dry mouth. What is the connection between diabetes and dental health, and how can you safeguard your teeth and gums from lasting damage?

A Brief Introduction to Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to properly use blood sugar – called glucose – for energy. The pancreas is supposed to release insulin to open the body’s cells and allow glucose to enter and provide energy. However, diabetes hinders the pancreas from doing this job. Without the proper release of insulin, blood sugar accumulates and causes acute and chronic health problems.

Why Does Diabetes Affect Dental Health?

The most common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, vision problems, and numbness in the hands and feet. If diabetes continues uncontrolled and untreated, serious health complications can arise, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. Unfortunately, some long-term damage can also occur in the mouth.

The high blood sugar levels caused by uncontrolled diabetes actually weaken the body’s white blood cells. Since white blood cells serve as the body’s main defense against bacterial infections in the mouth, a person with diabetes becomes more prone to cavities, decay, gum disease, dry mouth, and thrush.

Without ongoing diabetes treatment and a diligent oral care routine, diabetes can lead to lost teeth, severe gum infection, and bone destruction. The bacteria that forms in the mouth as a result of these conditions then further threatens the body if it escapes the mouth and travels to another organ.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Diabetes does not always cause obvious symptoms in its early stages, so you might be suffering from subtle issues without realizing you are vulnerable to diabetes and ongoing oral damage. If you experience any of the following warning signs, you should make an appointment with your holistic dentist immediately:

  • Bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
  • Loose permanent teeth

Be sure to work with your holistic dentist, who will carefully consider your diabetic condition when treating your teeth and gums. At Natural and Cosmetic Medical Center in Clearwater, Florida, Dr. Beata Carlson and Dr. Amber Gilton offer holistic and cosmetic dentistry services that are based upon your overall health and lifestyle to achieve the best results. Call (727) 888-6523 today to make your appointment and minimize the impacts of diabetes on your smile.

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