The Negative Effects That Diabetes Can Have on Oral Health

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Are you or someone you know currently dealing with diabetes? If so, the effects can be far-reaching. It turns out that the disease can even impact your oral health. The good news is you don’t have to settle for a decline in wellness, as there are ways to protect yourself. As you continue reading, a dentist in Northgate explains what you can do to overcome the dental health issues related to diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

When the pancreas becomes unable to manage insulin production, the blood can become toxic. The purpose of insulin is to shuttle blood glucose (sugar) where it can be best utilized. Thus, when there is an interruption in this natural process, a condition called diabetes can develop.

Here are some of the life-threatening problems the disease can contribute to:

  • Hypertension
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Diabetes can also spell problems for a person’s oral health.

How Diabetes Can Impact the Teeth and Gums

When it comes to oral health, one of the major challenges posed by diabetes is that it leaves more glucose in the saliva. Any residue left behind from eating and drinking (especially items higher in sugar) attracts oral bacteria. Over time, the microorganisms can combine with the saliva to form a soft-sticky substance called plaque. As the latter settles on the teeth and along the gum line, it can cause a chain reaction of events to unfold.

It starts with cavities, which are tiny holes that the acidic substance bores into the enamel. If oral health is neglected for too long, another serious problem can emerge: gum disease. It starts with plaque seeping beneath the gum line to cause germ pockets to form.

Oral health issues can be much more difficult to treat for patients with diabetes, but there are other challenges that can arise.

Other Problems Associated with Diabetes

Here are some of the other issues that people with diabetes may encounter:

  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Pain in the mouth, face or jaw that lingers
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Constant bad taste in mouth
  • Bad breath that can’t seem to be resolved

What Can be Done

The best way to offset these challenges is to visit a dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleanings. While the typical recommended frequency is every six months, for people with diabetes, it may be necessary to visit more often to make sure there are no new developments.

It’s also even more important to practice excellent oral hygiene. By brushing and flossing at least two times a day, the growth of harmful oral bacteria can be better controlled.

Even with diabetes, by working with a dentist and being proactive, patients can better manage the symptoms and lead a healthier life.

About the Author

Since earning his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Dr. Amin Taba has been on a quest to provide the absolute best in dental care. To stay abreast of the latest breakthroughs and innovations in dentistry, he maintains professional affiliation with the Washington State Dental Society, King County Dental Society and other organizations. Dr. Taba provides comprehensive treatment at Oak Tree Dental Care, and he’s eager to help patients affected by diabetes maintain healthy teeth and gums. He can be reached for more information through his website.

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