November is dedicated to bringing awareness to a disease that affects nearly 30 million Americans – diabetes. Diabetes may cause problems throughout your entire body from your eyes, nerves, and kidneys, to your heart and even your mouth. My dental practice in Staten Island wants to increase awareness of how diabetes can contribute to oral health concerns.
One of the most dangerous oral health issues associated with diabetes is the development of gum disease. Those battling diabetes are at increased risk for gum disease since they’re more susceptible to bacteria and have a limited ability to fight off this bacteria. This is especially true when a diabetic’s blood sugar is difficult to control. When diabetes is not monitored and controlled, the glucose level in saliva increases, helping bacteria in the mouth multiply and thrive. This makes keeping up with your appointments with your Staten Island dentist and brushing and flossing everyday extremely important.
Like diabetes, gum disease may cause concerns and serious whole-body issues. Gum disease can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and many other problems. Gum disease can make diabetes even more difficult to control since it affects blood glucose levels. If you have diabetes, maintaining proper oral hygiene is not only important for a healthy mouth, but for a healthy body as well.
There are several levels of severity to gum disease. The earlier stage is known as gingivitis which may be treated, thereby reducing risk for other problems, if caught early. However, if gum disease is left to fester, periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease, can develop.
If a patient develops periodontitis, the gums actually pull away from the teeth creating pockets. Bacteria collect and fester in these pockets. The longer the bacteria is in the pockets, the deeper they become and infection can set in, causing more serious problems. This infection will eat away at the bone that holds your teeth in place and can result in loose teeth, teeth that shift, or even lost teeth.
Gum disease is only one of the oral health concerns associated with diabetes. While it may be one of the most serious issues, the other problems are just as severe and are well worth noting. Some of the other issues linked to diabetes include:
- Tooth Decay
- Fungal Infections
- Taste Impairment
- Infection and Delayed Healing
One of the best ways to ensure that your diabetes isn’t negatively affecting your oral health is to control your blood sugar. It won’t hurt to keep your regularly scheduled appointments at my Staten Island dental office where we can help catch any problems in your mouth before they become big issues. Preventive, at-home care is also extremely important, so make sure you’re brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Finally, remember to mention any changes in your condition or medication to us at your appointments. The more we know, the more we can help keep your mouth and your whole body healthy.
Serving patients in Staten Island, Tottenville, and Prince’s Bay.