How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

Posted by Richard Hughes on Mar 21 2023, 07:14 AM

How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses glucose, which is a type of sugar that comes from the food you eat. Glucose is important because it provides energy for all of your cells. When the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, it cannot properly use glucose. Over time, this can lead to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Otherwise known as hyperglycemia, this condition can increase your risk of other health problems like heart disease and stroke. 

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce any insulin at all. This type is typically diagnosed in children or young adults, but adults of any age can also have it. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot process insulin as well as it should. Approximately 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and it is typically seen in people who are overweight. Insulin resistance, also called prediabetes, is a precursor to type 2 diabetes that can affect anyone, but it is especially common among those who are overweight or obese. Those who develop prediabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.

How Diabetes and Your Oral Health Are Connected

People with diabetes are more likely to experience dry mouth than those who don’t. Saliva plays an important role in oral health by neutralizing acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth from foods and drinks that you consume every day. This helps protect your teeth and gums. When you have less saliva, you have a higher chance of developing cavities and other oral health problems. Having uncontrolled blood glucose levels can also lead to gum disease, which is also associated with being at a higher risk of poor blood sugar control due to inflammation in your gums. Addressing both conditions is important to help your overall health.

Managing your blood sugar may help lower the risk of oral health problems related to diabetes. 

Good bacteria help to keep the teeth clean by fighting against bad bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth. Without these beneficial microorganisms, there is a higher risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems when a patient has diabetes.

Many dentists will prescribe an antibacterial rinse to their patients to help guard against these types of problems. These rinses kill the bad bacteria while allowing the helpful bacteria to thrive. In addition, they also contain fluoride, which acts to strengthen the teeth and protect them from damage over time. Patients can use these products on their own at home in between appointments with their dentist. However, if these products are not used consistently, the harmful bacteria will flourish and take over again.

It is important for any patient with a chronic health condition like diabetes to have a relationship with a dentist so that they can monitor their dental health regularly. Patients should also have their blood sugar monitored on a regular basis to avoid both high and low blood sugar levels that could lead to health problems. 

Call Alta View Dental in Sandy, UT, 84094, at (801) 572-4261 to know more about our dental treatments. Our team will work with you and create a customized plan to meet your individual needs. 

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Dr. Richard Hughes is one of the most renowned and compassionate dentists practicing today, with over 30 years of experience dedicated to the inspired, focused results his patients enjoy.

Since earning his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the University of Louisville, Dr. Hughes has continued his education through some of the most highly regarded institutions in the country.

A native of Utah, Dr. Hughes resides in Sandy where is involved with the community and his patients in the area. He and his wife Cindy, have been married over 40 years and have been blessed with three children and 8 grandchildren. Dr. Hughes enjoys the outdoors and can often be found pursuing cycling, sometimes logging over 4,000 miles a year.

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