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The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes is a health condition in which your body has trouble converting glucose into energy. When this happens, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy. High blood sugar can lead to serious health problems. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, but in diabetes, these levels are too high, which causes other issues. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in young children and adolescents and is less common in adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is usually diagnosed after the age of 40. Both types of diabetes can cause patients to be at higher risk for other problems such as cardiovascular issues, kidney diseases, and problems with their eyes.

Why is Diabetes Bad for Your Teeth?

People with diabetes are at increased risk for developing all sorts of health problems, including gum disease. That’s because diabetes restricts blood circulation throughout the body, and that includes your gums. This means that your gum tissues may not receive adequate nourishment, leading to weakened gums and more susceptibility to infection.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth. When plaque accumulates on teeth, it can harden and become tartar, which can only be removed by a professional cleaning. If left untreated, it will continue to build up along the gum line and lead to gingivitis. Once that happens, the gums become inflamed and irritated, and they may begin to bleed when brushing or flossing. Eventually, the infection will progress up the tissue until it has reached the jawbone. Once there, it can cause the bone to deteriorate and may even destroy the teeth themselves.

To make matters worse, people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections of any kind. So once gum disease has developed, it can be far more difficult to treat. That’s why it’s so important to take extra precautions when it comes to your oral health if you have diabetes. This includes getting regular checkups with your dentist, brushing twice a day, flossing daily, avoiding tobacco use, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding sugary beverages that can increase your risk for tooth decay.

How is Diabetes Treated?

If you suspect you may have diabetes, it is important to see your dentist right away to set up an oral treatment plan. At your first appointment, your dentist will discuss your health history and perform a physical exam of your mouth. Your dentist will look for any potential problems or signs of gum disease, such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, mouth pain, and gum recession. They will also take X-rays to look for infection in the jawbone, tooth decay, cavities, cysts, or abscesses in the gum tissues. Your dentist will create a personalized treatment plan to help treat and prevent any oral health problems caused by diabetes. Most treatment plans will include cleanings, exams, and a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. During your visits, your dentist will also offer proper brushing techniques and oral hygiene education so you can maintain healthy teeth and gums between visits.

At Coeur D’Alene Family Dentistry, we strive to provide each of our patients with a positive and relaxing experience. If you’re ready to experience the best dental care, please contact us at 2201 N Government Way G, Coeur D’Alene, ID 83814. For an appointment, call (208) 664 – 9129 or email us at [email protected]