How Uncontrolled Diabetes Affects Oral Health
Do you or someone you know suffer from diabetes?
Diabetes is unfortunately on the rise in Canada – with an estimated 4.2 million Canadians expected to be suffering from the condition by the year 2020.
With that said, there’s actually a connection between diabetes and oral health. In fact, a diabetic’s oral health can be seriously compromised if they don’t take the steps to manage their condition.
When a person doesn’t manage or treat their diabetes, their white blood cells become compromised. But the thing is, we need our white blood cells to fight infection in the body. With regard to oral health, this would increase a diabetic’s risk for gum disease – a bacterial infection in the mouth.
Another way that uncontrolled diabetes can affect a person’s smile is through a decrease in saliva production – leading to a condition known as dry mouth, or xerostomia. Dry mouth can increase a person’s risk for tooth decay, as well as gum disease. This is because our saliva is an essential natural defense against the harmful effects of certain oral bacteria. If you have a particularly dry mouth, a Teeth First Dental Network Ontario dentist near you will be able to help you manage your condition.
Uncontrolled diabetes also has the potential to slow healing (for example, after a dental treatment or surgery) due to poorer blood flow. There’s also been a connection found between diabetes and oral thrush, a condition which causes an unpleasant burning sensation or metallic taste in the mouth.
Diabetes doesn’t need to come between you and your smile.
As long as a diabetic person takes the steps to keep their diabetes under control, and in addition makes an effort to look after their oral health with proper daily care, they should have nothing to worry about! There is only a connection between the two if the diabetes is not controlled or treated (or, if a person’s oral health is not made a priority). This is because any kind of infection, namely periodontal (gum) disease, can cause blood sugar levels to increase.
Proper daily oral hygiene care involves brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time, and never forgetting to floss everyday! If you have a dry mouth, there are ways you can manage the condition – such as chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water regularly to keep the oral environment moist. You should also remember to see your dentist and hygienist every 6 months (or as necessary) for a check-up and cleaning.
All of these efforts will help to ensure a healthy, happy smile – regardless of diabetes.