In 2017 approximately 2.3 million people in Canada aged 12 or over were diagnosed with diabetes, and roughly 8% of the population in Ontario have this condition. People with diabetes are less able to control blood sugar levels. Those with Type I diabetes cannot produce enough insulin while people with Type II diabetes are more resistant to insulin. Both can affect dental health.
How Diabetes Can Affect Oral Health
Diabetes can potentially affect oral health in several different ways. One problem is a condition called xerostomia or dry mouth, and where the person is unable to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth clean and fresh. We tend to take saliva for granted until it isn’t there, but it does have an essential role to play in oral health, washing away food particles, old skin cells and maintaining a more neutral pH.
When your mouth is too dry, it can increase your risk of gum disease and tooth decay, as well as ulcers, fungal infections and sores. There are ways to relieve the discomfort of dry mouth and which include using saliva substitutes, or even something as simple as drinking more water or sucking sugar-free candies or gum can be helpful. Our dentist in Newcastle can definitely assist you with this problem.
Because diabetes affects the immune system, it can slow down healing after any oral surgery required so additional care may be necessary to make sure there aren’t any unwanted complications during healing. One of the most important connections between diabetes and oral health is the link with gum disease.
How Diabetes Can Increase the Risk of Gum Disease
Gum disease or periodontal disease is a potentially serious condition that can cause tooth loss and may negatively impact general health. Unfortunately, it is extremely common, and people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease. If you have diabetes, your risk of developing periodontal disease is four times higher and around a quarter of people with diabetes will also have some form of gum disease in Clarington.
If you have diabetes that is poorly controlled, it can increase the amount of glucose in saliva. The additional glucose fuels the bacteria that cause gum disease. As gums become infected, they tend to look red and swollen, and will frequently bleed when brushed or flossed. Bleeding gums allow bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream. Once inside your blood, these bacteria can travel around the body, potentially causing new sites of inflammation that can make it harder to control blood sugar levels.
Managing the Risk of Diabetes Affecting Your Oral Health
Although diabetes can affect oral health, there are lots of different things that we can do to help you here at West Bowmanville Family Dental. Initially, when you first come to see us make sure we know you have diabetes so we can adjust your treatment plan accordingly. Providing additional preventative care such as more frequent checkups or professional cleanings can help tremendously. We can ensure your treatment plan reduces the risk of diabetes affecting your oral health and it will help you maintain an optimal level of dental health. When you have diabetes, it’s even more crucial to make sure you attend regular checkups.
Because advanced periodontal disease can cause tooth loss, people with diabetes are often faced with the problem of how to replace teeth. One of the most advanced treatments is to consider dental implants in Courtice, but treatment can be a bit more complicated when you have diabetes. However, this does depend on how well you can control your blood glucose levels, and it’s always worth enquiring to see if you are suitable for dental implants.