Diabetes and oral health

Learn the facts about diabetes and teeth and how it can affect your oral health.

 

Diabetes or high blood sugar is a very common ailment, especially in India. There are many reasons for this such as poor diet, obesity, inadequate exercise and bad genes which make you more susceptible. What is alarming is that even many young people these days are being diagnosed with diabetes, so if you are above the age of 30 this may apply to you too. India is, in fact, the Diabetes Capital of the world with a maximum number of individuals suffering from this condition.

Many people are aware of the fact that Diabetes can cause coma, blindness, kidney failure and lead to heart disease. But very few are aware of the relationship between diabetes and oral health. Diabetic patients have, in fact, very obvious and visible effects in the mouth such
that it can even help to detect that one has diabetes if one did not realize this earlier. Pus discharge, swelling, and bleeding from the gums are some of these warning signals that may indicate that one has high blood sugar.

 

High blood sugar harms your body in multiple ways such as weakening your immunity and
decreasing the healing potential of your body tissues. Over a period of time, it results in
irreversible blood vessel damage. Due to this, the bacteria in your mouth have a chance to multiply resulting in infection, bleeding, and loss of the bone supporting the teeth. In common terms, this gum disease is called Pyorrhoea.

 

On the other hand, poor brushing and bad oral hygiene also cause the levels of bacteria and inflammation in your body to increase and worsen your existing diabetes. For all these reasons and to minimise the levels of infection and inflammation in the body it is critical for Diabetic persons especially to have good oral health. A scary fact is that due to the weakened immunity even a small site of infection can result in a massive widespread septic infection in a diabetic patient.

 

The oral cavity has millions of bacteria and is a potential gateway for this infection to develop. Daily maintenance of oral cleanliness with proper and adequate brushing and flossing is a must. One must get professional teeth cleaning and check-ups done at regular
intervals or a minimum of a yearly basis. Making sure that the blood sugar level is monitored and under control is crucial. In fact, diabetes is largely a preventable and controllable condition. And staying away from the sweets and sugars helps prevent both dental and diabetic complications.

 

Diabetes also alters the function of the salivary glands and reduced the flow of saliva. This may cause dryness of the mouth and increased sensation of thirst. It may also cause irritation and burning of the delicate mucosal lining of the mouth. Diabetic patients are more prone to all sorts of infections due to the weakening of the immune system. Fungal infections are also more common oral candidiasis as well as autoimmune diseases.

 

Impaired healing of the body in diabetes makes it difficult for the body to repair or renew itself. So all procedures should be carried out in a very sterile environment avoiding chances of infection. Also after any dental procedure, it may take longer for such a patient to heal and more precautions will be required. Gentle delivery of care is an important criterion while selecting your treatment centre.

 

In case of high blood sugar, certain procedures may have to be deferred till it is safe to perform the procedure and the sugar levels are in control for optimum healing.

 

By: DR. RATNADEEP PATIL
M.D - Smile Care Expert Dental Centre

 

Administrator

Diabetic Living is the only lifestyle magazine that demonstrates how to live fully each and every day while managing diabetes.