Most understand that diabetes can affect the health of one’s eyes, nerves, kidneys and heart. Yet, many do not realize that individuals with diabetes have a much greater risk of developing oral and dental health problems. The Cleveland Clinic reports that the link between diabetes and oral health issues is high blood sugar. In essence, if a person’s blood sugar is not managed, their white blood cell count is compromised. White blood cells defend the body against bacterial infections, and when they are not controlled, the likelihood of developing an oral infection is high.
Some of the oral health complications linked to diabetes are explained below:
Diabetes, when uncontrolled, leads to dry mouth. As a serious oral health concern, dry mouth is a condition in which saliva flow decreases, allowing the buildup of bacteria in the mouth. As a result, individuals might experience ulcers, sores, infections and tooth decay.
Gingivitis and/or Periodontitis
As mentioned, individuals with poorly managed diabetes also develop weakened white blood cells. This places them at a higher risk for infection. Yet, another component of diabetes is thickened blood vessels. This means that blood flow is slower, which makes it difficult for the body to fight infection and filter waste products and bacteria.
When individuals with uncontrolled diabetes develop an infection, doctors often prescribe antibiotics to help their bodies fight it. However, frequent use of antibiotics can result in thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. Over time, this condition may lead to burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and pain throughout the mouth.
Preventative Dentistry To Protect Your Oral Health
For all patients, especially those with diabetes, Dr. Leia Porcaro places a high value on preventative dental care as a way to protect oral health. Preventative dentistry includes oral health examinations twice each year, along with regular brushing and flossing. It also includes patient education and learning about lifestyle habits that will advance one’s oral health.
Because she understands the connection between one’s health and oral health, Dr. Porcaro remains committed to helping patients obtain optimal oral health. To schedule your checkup and dental examination, call Grateful Dental in Marietta today.