Our Dental Blog

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

March 31, 2022

29 million Americans live with either Type I or Type II diabetes. As a metabolic autoimmune disorder, it affects aspects of their health well beyond what they may understand on the surface.

Diabetics can suffer damage to their eyes and their extremities on account of circulation issues. These problems with blood successfully reaching areas of the body means that the likelihood of bacterial or fungal infection is significantly elevated, as well

If you are a diabetic, it is important for you to pay attention to all the ways it can harm your well-being. Today, your Kansas City, MO dentist discusses how this condition can affect your smile.

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How Does Diabetes Change Your Saliva?

Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, harms the body in a myriad of ways, and the mouth is no exception. When the glucose levels rise within the blood, they also rise within your saliva! The body tries to flush itself of the excess sugar, and our secretions are its primary method of expulsion.

This means that a hyperglycemic mouth becomes full of materials that bacteria love to eat. This means that diabetics are more likely to experience tooth decay than a healthy individual. It’s like you’re constantly drinking soda!

Dehydration and Dry Mouth

By this method of ridding itself of glucose, the body releases more fluid than it normally would. Primarily, we see this through an increase in urination. Of course, losing this water content means that dehydration and dry mouth follow soon.

Our saliva has many antibacterial qualities, and we rely upon that protection to keep our mouth safe. This means that people with diabetes are at an elevated risk of infection, especially when their glucose levels are not maintained.

Periodontal disease, which affects the gums, is much more likely to occur without the natural protection of saliva. Gum recession exposes the roots of the teeth, which increases the likelihood of tooth loss.

Fungal infections and thrush are also much more common in patients with this condition. These can create sores in the mouth, and those with diabetes tend to heal at a significantly slower rate. Without a natural defense for these infections, they can become dangerous if left unchecked.

How Should You Care for a Diabetic Mouth?

Oral health should be of particular concern for those with diabetes. As with any patient, twice daily tooth brushing, coupled with flossing and an oral rinse, are key to maintaining your smile.

But also paramount is glucose maintenance. Those with controlled sugar levels are much more likely to see a healthy natural response from the body. And if you smoke, now’s the time to quit. Tobacco use can wreak havoc on the oral health of those with diabetes.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any further questions, please give Dr. Lucaci at Cosmetic Implant Dentistry Kansas City in Kansas City, MO a call today at (816)427-4018.