The Diabetes — Dental Health Connection

The Diabetes — Dental Health Connection

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

A person with diabetes needs to pay particular attention to their dental health as side effects from the disease can cause problems for a person’s teeth. Here is what you need to know about the connection between diabetes and dental health and what you can do to keep your mouth healthy in spite of your condition.

Diabetes: The Dental Connection

A recent study found a link between diabetes and periodontal disease that states the longer a patient has had diabetes, the higher their fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C, resulting in an increased chance of developing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is marked by bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing, changes in the way teeth come together for a bite (malocclusion), chronic bad breath even after brushing, loose gums that appear to pull away from teeth, a loosening of permanent teeth, and swollen, red-looking gums.

Signs and Symptoms

People with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of developing or sustaining a number of oral conditions. That’s because diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, slowing nutrient flow and the dispelling of waste from the mouth, thereby making infections in the mouth more difficult to fight. This may result in dry mouth – when the body doesn’t produce enough saliva to wash away dental plaque or keep the mouth moist and hydrated. As infections worsen, they may affect the delicate pulp of the tooth which can lead to root canals, or worse, loss of the toothy entirely. Plus, dry mouth and inadequate saliva production often result in inflamed, bleeding gums, loose or missing teeth and ulcers that only become worse with diabetes.

Diabetics may also experience Ketoacidosis, which is a complication of diabetes that often presents in sweet, fruity-smelling breath – the result of inadequate insulin production that causes the burning of fats and results in the production of ketones. Ketoacidosis can also be a sign of chronic kidney failure, also a symptom of diabetes.

Precautions for Oral Issues from Diabetes

Maintaining blood sugar levels not only helps with diabetic symptoms, it is very important for one’s dental health. In fact, working to prevent or aggressively treat gum disease actually has been found to help improve blood sugar levels in diabetics; that’s because left untreated diabetes can cause a rise in blood sugar levels, something extremely problematic for diabetic patients.

Another precaution to ensure good oral health is to inform your dentist if you suspect you or a loved one may have diabetes, has a family history of diabetes, or have received a diagnosis of diabetes – especially if any dental work or procedures are in order. Your dentist may request to discuss any concerns with your endocrinologist or prescribe antibiotics before getting any procedures under way.

Expert Dental Care in the Twin Cities

For the many people who are unaware they have diabetes, their initial diagnosis may come from their dentist during their regularly scheduled check-up. Your dentist may notice your gums have more plaque than usual, your breath is sweet or fruity smelling, or perhaps you have been complaining about dry mouth or excessive thirst. If you are seeking expert dental care in the Twin Cities area, check out Hagerman Dental. With over 35 years of experience, they have a great deal of experience treating diabetic patients and working alongside medical specialists to ensure total wellness. Good oral health is a key factor in overall health. Don’t delay, call Hagerman Dental today at (651) 646-2392, or, request an appointment online and take charge of your and your family’s dental health!