Diabetes means your blood sugar levels have soared. It might result from your body becoming resistant to insulin that keeps blood sugar level in check or because your body doesn’t produce a sufficient amount of insulin.
Diabetes can have a severe impact on all parts of your body and your mouth is no exception. Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can harm your oral cavity. The more your blood sugar level rises, the greater will be the damage.
Here is how high blood sugar affects your oral health –
1. Cavities (Tooth Decay) –
There are many colonies of bacteria in your mouth. Some of them are essential to prevent tooth decay. But when they come in contact with sugars and starch, they react by producing a coating around your teeth. This is called plaque. Plaque contains acids that slowly erode your teeth (the enamel and the dentin). When you have diabetes, naturally more sugar and starch will be circulated to your mouth. And this means your teeth and gums will be even more vulnerable to decay.
2. Gum Disease or Gingivitis –
Diabetes symptoms are many, but some are more debilitating than others are. One such severe symptom is a weak immune system. This is especially significant when it comes to dental health. If you are healthy, your body is able to fight off the harmful effects of plaque. But if you are a diabetic with a weak immune system then the plaque will become a solid hard mass called the dental calculus.
This hardened plaque affects the tooth base (gingival) – they get infected, swell up, and may even bleed.
3. Periodontitis (Advanced Gum Disease) –
Periodontitis is the advanced form of gingivitis. It attacks the tissues and bones that grip your teeth and this leads to the teeth coming loose and eventually falling off. This infection persists because your body can’t get rid of it due to a weakened immune system.
4. Thrush –
It’s not just bacteria but yeast too that can sometimes dwell in your mouth. Candida alibicans, a type of yeast, causes an infection called thrush and diabetics are more prone to it than other people are.
5. Xerostomia –
Diabetes can dry up your mouth and cause a disorder called xerostomia. Your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to moisten your mouth. Less saliva makes it easier for the plaque to stick to your teeth and this can deteriorate your dental health further.
How to Avoid Diabetes-related Dental Disorders?
Even though diabetes increases your risk of teeth and gum diseases, there’s no need to lose hope. All you need to do is follow the diabetes precautions mentioned below to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar to keep your blood sugar level under control. This will naturally reduce your likelihood of coming down with dental problems.
- Brush every day at least twice so as to prevent plaque build-up. Remember to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and always opt for a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss your teeth to remove stubborn plaque.
- Visit your dentist regularly and apprise him or her of your current blood sugar level.
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or soft drinks.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Don’t think too much about what type of exercise to pick, any form – be it dancing, running, weight lifting or yoga will do just fine.
Diabetes can trigger a host of gum and teeth problems. But if you follow the necessary precautions, then your dental health will not be compromised.