Feb 26, 2020
Family Dentistry

Diabetes & the Mouth: Everything You Need to Know


hile most people have heard of diabetes and are somewhat familiar with the disease, many people do not understand the lifestyle challenges and health issues that coincide with the disease. Diabetes as a whole is considered a rather imperfect disease — one in which doctors have yet to find a cause or cure. As the leading dentist in Carnegie, PA, Rosslyn Farms Dental Aesthetics understands the special needs of patients with diabetes and the oral health risks associated with the disease. That’s why we’re here to break down everything you need to know about diabetes and the mouth, including a quick breakdown of the disease and an outline of oral health issues that people with diabetes often face.

What is Diabetes? 

The Leading Dentist in Carnegie Breaks Down Type 1 & 2 Diabetes

Diabetes and dentistry

When asked about diabetes, many people are able to outline the basics. Diabetes is common in people who are overweight or obese, requires people to test their blood sugar, and means that there are certain dietary restrictions that must be kept in mind. However, many people don’t realize that diabetes is an extremely complex disease that requires precision and a great amount of knowledge to properly manage treatment.

Diabetes, in essence, affects your body’s ability to process sugar, or glucose. The food you eat is converted into glucose that is used for energy, allowing you to carry out daily tasks. In order for your body to properly process this glucose, you need a hormone called Insulin which is naturally created in the pancreas and released into the body. Without insulin, the blood holds onto this sugar, changing the pH of the blood and leading to a number of problems — including ketoacidosis, which can essentially turn blood to the acidity level of battery acid.

There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is caused by your body not making enough insulin to process glucose. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can no longer respond to insulin when trying to process glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is more common in younger people and has genetic links while type 2 diabetes is heavily (but not always) related to obesity and diet. Both of these diseases lead to high levels of blood sugar that can lead to issues with your eyes, nerve, kidneys, heart, and — you guessed it — the mouth.

There are about 29.1 million people in the United States living with diabetes, or 9.3% of the population. More than 1.5 million new cases are diagnosed each year and more than 8.1 million people live with diabetes without knowing it.

While many people think diabetes involves simply testing your blood sugar and taking your shoes off at the doctor’s office, what they don’t realize is the amount of precision necessary when treating this disease. Medical professionals know what to look for when diagnosing diabetes, helping diagnose before the disease can become deadly. Not only do people with diabetes have to be mindful of what they eat and how they treat their bodies, but they also must use care when dosing themselves with Insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in check.

What oral health issues are associated with diabetes?

Understanding the Oral Health Risks with the Leading Dentist in Carnegie

oral health and diabetes pittsburgh

It’s clear that diabetes is a difficult disease to manage than can have serious effects on the human body. The leading dentist in Carnegie, PA also asserts that there are risks to your oral health associates with diabetes that you should know about. Not only are dentists often the first medical professionals to notice signs of diabetes — because it often leads to distinct, foul-smelling breath — but dentists must remain aware of diabetes diagnoses in their patients because they are at risk for the following oral health issues:

  • Gum disease: high blood sugar is known to increase the risk of gum disease because sugars are more likely to sit in the mouth and cause issues. One of the first signs of gum disease or gingivitis is the bleeding of gums while brushing or flossing teeth and can eventually lead to tooth loss if it is not managed properly. Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting people with diabetes, affecting more than 22% of patients. Diabetes patients who are older and have poor control over their blood sugar are more likely to struggle with gum disease.
  • Dry mouth: while dry mouth is a seemingly inconsequential issue faced by people with diabetes, the reality is that dry mouth can lead to major oral health problems. People with diabetes naturally have less saliva that helps wash away food particles that lead to cavities. By drinking extra water, chewing sugar-free gum, and chewing crunchy foods, people with diabetes can help negate the effects of diabetes in the mouth.

Want to make sure your oral health is in check? Get in touch with the best dentist in Carnegie, PA to schedule an appointment.

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