November is American Diabetes Month, which makes this the perfect time for our Las Vegas dentists to talk to you about the effect diabetes can have on your oral health.
We don’t tend to think about diabetes in a dental context, accustomed, as we are, to discussing its very serious long-term threat to your body’s overall level of health and wellness. However, diabetes can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums, and that’s something you should be aware of.
In fact, diabetes-related concerns are among the most common dental problems Americans face. And these aren’t just cosmetic problems – diabetes-related oral health conditions can significantly affect the functioning of your mouth.
Dental Problems Associated With Diabetes
The most significant oral health concern when it comes to diabetes is gum disease. There’s a strong link between diabetes and gum disease, one that potentially runs in both directions – there are some studies that have found a link between untreated gum disease and an increased likelihood of developing diabetes.
However, we know that those who suffer from diabetes are at greater risk of suffering from gum disease. Because diabetes makes it difficult for your body to regulate its blood sugar levels, constant vigilance is needed to keep them in their proper ranges. Without that vigilance, your blood sugar can spike, which is dangerous for a number of reasons.
You probably already know that sweet, sugary foods and drinks can harm your teeth and gums. Well, high blood sugar can have a similar effect. High blood sugar means there’s more acid to wear away your gums and tooth enamel. This is just one more reason to carefully monitor and regulate your blood sugar levels if you suffer from diabetes.
There are two other oral health conditions commonly associated with diabetes:
- Thrush, a fungal infection in your mouth
- Extreme dry mouth – when your body fails to produce enough saliva, it has lost a crucial weapon for removing bacteria from your teeth
As you can see, the oral health consequences of diabetes are significant and require constant vigilance.
Addressing These Concerns
If you already suffer from diabetes and wish to avoid these dental problems, it really comes down to two things: diabetes control and dental hygiene.
Put simply, controlling your diabetes is the best way to minimize the danger to your teeth and gums. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Eat a careful diet. Monitor your blood sugar levels. If you’ve been given medication such as insulin, take it at the proper times and in the proper fashion.
Meanwhile, you should be practicing sound dental hygiene. This is always important, of course, but it takes on added urgency when you’re suffering from diabetes. You need to be very sure that you’re looking after your teeth and gums. This means brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing on a daily basis and seeing our dentists at least twice a year for regular checkups.
And, of course, if you suffer from diabetes, be sure to disclose that when coming in for your initial appointment. It will help us as we seek to provide you with the extraordinary dental care you deserve.
If you live in or around Las Vegas, Nevada and need an experienced dentist, please call Drs. Chin & Pharar Dentistry today at 702-445-7075.