Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the United States, which is 9.3% of the population. It is estimated that 8.1 million people are living with diabetes but have not been officially diagnosed.
What does this mean for diabetes and dentistry? Diabetes, as a chronic medical condition, affects many aspects of your overall health, including your oral health. Many symptoms and side effects of the disease lead to a higher risk of oral health issues, making dental treatment for diabetic patients especially important.
An Overview of Diabetes
Having diabetes means that your body is unable to effectively process sugar. Insulin is a hormone your body makes that helps move the sugar in the blood to the cells that need it for energy. For patients with Type I diabetes, the body is unable to make enough insulin to regulate the level of sugar in the blood. In patients with Type II diabetes, the body simply stops responding to insulin. Often medication is necessary to control spikes in blood sugar.
Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Dentistry
Many cases of diabetes go undiagnosed, and even some people who know they have the disease are not aware of the ways it can affect their dental health. Here are some of the ways diabetes takes its toll on the mouth:
- Dry mouth. As a diabetic you may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
- Higher risk of cavities. Because saliva protects your teeth, dry mouth puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay and cavities.
- Gum disease. Gums may become inflamed and bleed often, which is a sign of gum disease, otherwise known as gingivitis.
- Diminished sense of taste. You may have problems tasting food.
- Slower healing. You may experience delayed wound healing in the mouth and throughout the body.
- Increased risk of mouth infections. You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth, an additional symptom of dry mouth.
- Early teething. For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.
Decreasing Your Risk of Dental Health Problems as a Diabetic
Dental treatment for diabetic patients is extremely important. In order to avoid many of the above mentioned oral health problems, routine teeth cleanings and oral examinations are crucial, as well as self care. Be sure to do the following:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water.
- Use mouthwash to kill bacteria in your mouth.
- Visit your dentist regularly (at least every 6 months or according to your dentist’s recommendations).
- Avoid smoking.
- Clean dentures daily.
- Follow a healthy diet.
Creekview Dental is Experienced in Diabetes Dental Care
If you have diabetes you need a dentist who understands the disease and the effect it can have on your oral health. It is important that you inform your dentist about your condition and any medications you are taking so that they can treat you to the best of their ability. You and your dentist must work as a team to maintain your oral health, and Creekview Dental has the knowledge and experience necessary to be an equal partner in this goal.
Call (651) 738-8204 today to schedule a consultation or contact us to request an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain excellent oral health.