What Do Diabetes And The Dentist Have In Common?

Most people don’t normally associate dental issues with diabetes, but it is very common to see the early signs of diabetes at a routine oral exam. It is critical to detect diabetes early to reduce the risk of it developing into a more serious problem. This is just one of the many reasons to regularly see your dentist. In this article, we will touch on the association of diabetes at dental visits as well as going into how you can lessen your risk of diabetes.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Oral Health?

Did you know that more than 8 million people are unaware that they have diabetes? This is a staggering number that can be reduced with routine dental visits. So how does diabetes affect your oral health? Everyone has glucose present in their saliva. When you’re diabetic and you do not regulate your glucose levels, high glucose levels cause harmful bacteria to grow. The bacteria mixes with the food particles stuck between your teeth to create a hard substance called plaque. The build-up of plaque can cause tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and most commonly, bad breath.

A study by the CDC found that one in five cases of total tooth loss can be linked to diabetes. Serious complications that are associated with diabetes include heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. If you are aware that you have diabetes, it is important to regulate your glucose levels and visit the dentist regularly to prevent tooth loss or other complications.

Does Poor Oral Hygiene Affect Diabetes?

You may be thinking to yourself, “well I don’t have diabetes and my teeth look fine, so I don’t have to worry about my oral health.” Wrong! It has been found that poor oral hygiene, which causes serious gum disease, can affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can cause a person to become more susceptible to infections which makes it even harder to fight off gum disease.

Research can conclude that the relationship between diabetes and gum disease goes both ways. Meaning that your poor oral hygiene can contribute to the development of diabetes.

Knowing these facts just made all of your dental hygiene tools, such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, even more valuable! Flossing will remove harmful food particle that can form plaque. By removing plaque, you can lessen your risk of gum disease and diabetes. Research has proven that treating gum disease can improve glucose control in patients with and without diabetes which then slows the progression of the disease.

What Are Some Signs That You May Have Diabetes?

Some signs of diabetes can be seen when you are completing your daily oral health routine. If you notice any of the following symptoms it is imperative that you see your dentist immediately. Listed are some key symptoms to look out for:

  • a sore or ulcer that does not heal
  • dark spots or holes in your teeth
  • pain in your mouth, face, or jaw that doesn’t go away
  • loose teeth
  • pain when chewing
  • a changed sense of taste or bad taste in your mouth
  • bad breath that doesn’t go away when you brush

These are all possible symptoms of diabetes and should be treated by a professional before they develop into greater issues.

Do I Tell My Dentist I Have Diabetes?

If you know that you have diabetes it is important that you let your dentist and hygienist know. Both professionals are equipped to meet your needs and should be informed prior to being seen. If your doctor changes your medication or your condition changes, you should update your dentist on these changes. If your blood glucose level is not under control, your dental professional may postpone treatment if treatment is not an emergency.

Having diabetes, you know that controlling your glucose level is the key to living a healthy life. Work with your doctor to control your glucose levels and this will make dental treatment more of a breeze.

Schedule your dental visit today at OC Healthy Smiles in Costa Mesa, CA by calling (714) 545-0484.




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Dr. Nguyen and his award-winning Costa Mesa, CA dentists, Costa Mesa, CA cosmetic dentists and Costa Mesa, CA pain-free dentists offer 5-star rated and comfortable dental care for children and adults, including teeth cleanings, dental implants, veneers, teeth whitening, Invisalign and more. We are your all-in-one dental office in Costa Mesa, CA!
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