Did you know that over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes? That’s more than 9% of the entire population! When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums. While we know that diabetes plays a significant role with the state of your mouth, does the same thing go the other way around? Can dental problems cause diabetes? Keep on reading to find out!
Can Dental Problems Cause Diabetes?
As we all know, people with diabetes are more prone to dental problems such as periodontal disease. However, is it the same for the other way around? Does periodontal disease cause diabetes? Results from a study showed that people with periodontal disease were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes down the road. Researcher Ryan T. Demmer, PhD, MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health explained, “It has been generally accepted that periodontal disease is a consequence of diabetes despite the fact that this association has not been studied with the same methodological rigor applied to coronary and stroke outcomes… We found that over two decades of follow-up, individuals who had periodontal disease were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life when compared to individuals without periodontal disease.”
The researchers studied over 9,000 participants without diabetes from a nationally representative sample, with more than 800 eventually developing diabetes. They then compared the risk of developing diabetes over the next 20 years between people with assorted degrees of periodontal disease and discovered that individuals with elevated levels of periodontal disease were nearly twice as likely to become diabetic within a 20-year timeframe. That’s why it is essential that you do everything you can to ensure that your dental health is at its best. While dental problems aren’t the sole cause of diabetes, having healthy teeth and gums is always a good idea. It plays a vital role with your entire well-being, believe it or not. So just take the safe route and care for your dental health as it should!
Diabetes and Dental Care
Once you have diabetes, you’ll have to take extra care of your dental health. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is important. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher you’re at the risk of:
- Tooth Decay [Cavities] – The higher your blood sugar level, the greater the supply of sugars and starches your mouth has. This will lead to more acid wearing away at your teeth.
- Early gum disease [Gingivitis] – Diabetes reduces one’s ability to fight bacteria. If you don’t remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it’ll harden under your gum line, turning into tartar. This irritates your gums and causes them to become swollen and easily bleed. This is known as Gingivitis.
- Advanced Gum Disease [Periodontitis] – When Gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis. Infections such as periodontitis may cause your blood sugar level to rise, making your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating this with regular dental cleanings can help improve blood sugar control.
Dental Care Tips for People with Diabetes
Diabetes is not something to be taken lightly. In order to prevent damage to your gums and teeth, you’ll have to take diabetes and dental care very seriously. Tips for proper dental care include:
- Making a commitment to manage your diabetes – Monitor your sugar blood levels and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar levels within your range.
- Brushing your teeth at least twice per day – Use a soft-bristled brush to brush your teeth in the morning, night, and ideally after snacks.
- Flossing your teeth once per day – Flossing helps remove plaque from between your teeth.
- Scheduling regular dental visits – Be sure to visit your dentist at least twice per year for professional cleanings and checkups.
- Stop Smoking – Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications and gum disease. It can eventually lead to the loss of your teeth. If you smoke, ask your doctors about options to help you quit.
While diabetes is known for causing many types of dental problems, studies have also shown that dental problems can increase the chances of developing diabetes as well. For either route, it’s important that you take care of your oral health. Simple things like visiting your dentist and brushing on a regular basis are all you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re experiencing a serious issue, such as periodontal disease, it’s essential that you get it taken care of immediately. Your dental health is an essential factor of your overall health, so don’t ignore it! If you have any dental concerns or are simply looking for a check-up, give us a call at (619) 444-1001, or click here to book an appointment today! We are located at 707 Arnele Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020.