The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Posted by Prescott Family Dentistry on May 17 2023, 11:15 PM

The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses food for energy. Over time, people who have diabetes may have problems with their heart, blood vessels, eyes, nerves, feet, and kidneys.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body’s insulin-producing cells, which are responsible for releasing the necessary amount of insulin into the bloodstream. Without enough insulin, the body is unable to process sugars or glucose in the blood. If left untreated, type 1 diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a condition that causes the blood to become highly acidic and can lead to coma or death.

While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process blood sugar. Many of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes can be managed and reduced with healthy lifestyle choices - such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and managing stress.

How Diabetes Affects Oral Health

People with diabetes face increased risks of gum disease due to high blood glucose levels, which promote the growth of bacteria and plaque. These bacteria release harmful toxins into your bloodstream, which can increase your risks of gum irritation and infection. Additionally, people with diabetes are more susceptible to dry mouth and fungal infections since these conditions can hinder your body’s ability to fight infections. Plaque buildup is also more dangerous because diabetics have reduced blood flow in their mouths, making the body less likely to notice and react to the onset of an infection.

People with diabetes often suffer from a variety of oral health problems, such as gum disease or dry mouth. This is because diabetes can negatively affect a person’s immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight infection and heal quickly. Other health conditions also associated with diabetes include heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, neuropathy, and retinopathy. People with one or even two of these conditions are more likely to experience oral complications when they also have diabetes. This is why it is important to maintain good oral health if you have diabetes.

It is important to visit your dentist regularly if you have diabetes and have any of the aforementioned symptoms. By catching early signs of a problem before it worsens, you and your dentist can work to prevent the issue from getting worse. In some cases, treatment may be needed to address a complication.

If left untreated, some complications linked to diabetes can cause further health problems and even result in tooth loss. Your dentist may refer you to another medical specialist for further treatment.

Get advanced dental treatments from Prescott Family Dentistry, Fort Mill, SC, by the expert team led by Jason Prescott, DMD, FAGD. For more details and appointments, call us at (803) 802-7878, book online, or visit us at 1860 Coltharp Rd., Fort Mill, South Carolina, 29715.

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