There are millions of Americans who have to deal with diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 37.3 million adults have diabetes. Not enough insulin in the body can increase glucose in the blood, leading to increased health problems. But did you know that diabetes and oral health are connected? Diabetes can negatively impact the teeth, gums, and soft tissues in the mouth. Diabetes thickens the blood vessels, and high blood sugar can increase glucose levels in the saliva. Knowing how diabetes impacts your dental health and what steps to take to improve your oral health can prevent these problems.
Links Between Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes can affect your health in many ways. Some of the most common oral health problems connected to diabetes include gum disease, thrush, and dry mouth. Sugars and starches in the mouth attract harmful bacteria to the teeth and gums. Because patients with diabetes have higher levels of glucose in their saliva, they are more prone to developing gum disease.
Thrush happens when high levels of sugar in your blood encourage yeast to grow, especially in the mouth. Signs of thrush include white lesions on the tongue or in the cheek. Dry mouth occurs when you don’t produce enough saliva. This dental problem is also a common early indicator of diabetes because there are high levels of glucose in the blood and in the saliva.
Prevent Diabetes from Impacting Your Oral Health
Controlling your blood sugar and being careful about what you eat can help your oral health and your overall health. Preventative dental care, including a good oral hygiene routine, hydration, and routine dental cleanings can help prevent problems like gum disease, thrush, and dry mouth. Brushing and flossing daily always helps improve oral health and strengthens the enamel and gum tissue. Drinking enough water can help increase saliva production and wash away food debris and harmful bacteria. In our office, we can provide professional cleanings that can clean hard-to-reach areas and examine the smile for signs of common oral health issues.
If you experience chronic gum problems, we will recommend scaling and root planing on a regular basis. Scaling removes plaque, a bacterial film, and tartar, hardened plaque, from the gums. We provide root planing to remove bacterial buildup from the tooth roots. Together, scaling and root planing can decrease the chance of bacteria buildup leading to gum disease.
Do you have oral health problems because of diabetes? Contact the Williamsburg Center for Dental Health today at 757-216-9873. You can also schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Stacey Hall online. Dr. Hall and her team are here to help you get the right care for your specific needs.