Almost 10% of the population in the United States has diabetes. That's 29.1 million people. Diabetes can have dramatic effects on your health and adversely affect your dental health.
What is Diabetes?
All the food we eat is turned to sugar and used for energy when digested by our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body's ability to process sugar is affected. Type 1 diabetes is when the body doesn't make enough insulin whereas Type 2 diabetes the body no longer responds to insulin. Both result in high blood sugar levels.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
Some common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Potential loss of consciousness if your blood sugar level falls too low
Diabetes Effect on Your Dental Health
Untreated diabetes can take a toll on your mouth and teeth, causing these potential issues:
- Dry mouth due to lower saliva production, also resulting in a higher cavity risk.
- Gingivitis resulting in inflamed gums and potentially bleeding.
- If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease which destroys your gums, the tissue holding your teeth together and your bones.
- You may have problems tasting food.
- You may experience delayed wound healing.
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
- For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.
Caring for Your Teeth with Diabetes
Regular dental visits and cleanings are a must to monitor the health of your teeth and gums. Eating a recommended diet for diabetes as well as brushing twice daily, flossing and keeping dentures clean all aid in keeping your dental health on track and bacteria and potential problems at bay.