diabetes and oral healthAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 100 million adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes can affect several different aspects of your health including your oral health. Unfortunately, diabetes can cause a variety of issues with your gums and teeth that must be treated. Thankfully, there are things that you can do to properly treat them and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.  Anthony Martin Dentistry dental providers request medical information during the initial consultation and want updates annually so that they can be aware of health changes, such as diabetes, that may affect your oral health and treatment plan. Three ways diabetes can affect your oral health and how to treat them are:

Less Saliva In Your Mouth

One way that diabetes can affect your oral health is to decrease the amount of saliva that is produced in your mouth. There are a couple different reasons why this happens. The first reason may be due to the medications that you take to treat your diabetes.  Another reason is the high blood sugar levels that you experience with diabetes. Reduced saliva in your mouth can cause you to have a very dry mouth, which is often uncomfortable and can make swallowing difficult. Also, because saliva does an effective job of cleaning food particles and other debris out of your teeth, you may be at risk for more cavities forming on your teeth.

When it comes to treating dry mouth, it is important that you take in enough water. This can help to moisten your mouth and flush out whatever is in it. Also, doing your best to regulate your blood glucose levels can help to increase the amount of saliva in your mouth.

Increased Risk For Gum Disease

There are two types of gum disease that those who have been diagnosed with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting:  gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a more mild form of gum disease that is generally the precursor to periodontal disease, which is much more severe. If you have diabetes, you are actually 2-3 times more likely to get gum disease due to poor blood glucose control. This can make you more susceptible to bacterial infections, which can target your gums.

Thankfully, consistent visits to Anthony Martin Dentistry for cleanings and screenings, as well as proper brushing and flossing habits of your own, can help you a great deal. Your dentist may also be able to prescribe you an antibiotic to help you get rid of an infection in your gums. If things are bad enough, your dentist may recommend that you see a periodontist for further treatment. Keep in mind that all of these treatment options are in addition to your regular diabetes treatment.

Decreased Oral Healing

If you get an infection or injury in your mouth, diabetes can  decrease the rate at which they heal. Oral healing is decreased when you have diabetes because your blood sugar levels are much harder to control. When your blood sugar levels increase, your body’s ability to heal decreases. This can make it difficult to heal from any kind of oral procedure and can increase your risk of infection.

The best way to treat this delayed healing is to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible. This is even more important if you know that you are having a dental procedure done in the near future.  In order to do this, you must stay on top of your diabetes by using your insulin properly and closely monitoring your diet.

Diabetes can have a negative impact on your oral health by causing you to produce less saliva, increasing your risk of gum disease, and decreasing the rate of your oral healing. However, all of these things can be treated and controlled to help you keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong.

Dr. Anthony Martin can provide more information on your condition and how it affects your long-term oral health.  If you’re in need of dental care, or it’s time for your regular bi-annual appointment, contact us at (757) 886-0300 to schedule.