You are what you eat. But in the case of diabetes, that isn’t necessarily true. Type 1 diabetics are born with the disease, so the ties to eating poorly simply aren’t there. But whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, there is a definite correlation to dental disease. This article looks at what the research has shown us.
High Incidence of Tooth Decay in Diabetics
According to healthcare advocate, Diabetes in Control, over 70% of all diabetics struggle with some form of periodontal disease. Conversely, the website says, “periodontal disease makes it harder for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.” So, the two diseases seem to be symbiotic, one causing the other, and vice versa.
It turns out that the glucose metabolism in diabetics is slower, and the immune system is weakened. These medical side effects contribute to an increased risk of bacterial infections in the gums – and in other places. Diabetics will manifest gum disease with swollen and bleeding gums, and sometimes even loose teeth.
Diabetes as a disease is terrible enough. But if you add in the additional health risks from periodontal disease, it becomes even more concerning. If you have diabetes, how can you fight back against gum disease and tooth decay?
Fighting Back Against Periodontal Disease
“Avoid sugary snacks, which are well-known tooth decayers, and
reach for crunchy foods like apples, celery, and carrots that will
actually clean your chompers as you chew.”
Delta Dental says there are 16 million Americans with diabetes. The side effects of the disease included problems with your nerves, kidneys, heart, eyes, and teeth. If you’re diabetic, it’s even more important to follow good oral hygiene practices in order to stay on top of these issues.
Diabetics have a higher glucose level in their saliva, which is like washing your teeth with sugar. Some of the ways you can fight back include:
- Eliminate all starches, which turn to sugar, and sugar from your diet.
- Eat fresh green vegetables and lean meats.
- Track your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day with fluoride toothpaste approved by the ADA.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use a good mouthwash twice a day.
- Watch closely for any sores or infections in the mouth and have them treated immediately.
- See your dentist for regular check-ups a minimum of two to four times per year.
- Also see your regular physician on a set schedule to be sure your disease is being managed properly.
Prevention magazine says that 8.3% of diabetics are at much greater risk for losing teeth. This risk accelerates when the person is over 50 years old. The study the article highlighted showed that diabetics were missing an average of nearly 10 teeth when a dentist examined them. In fact, 28% of diabetic patients had lost all of their teeth.
Talk to Dr. Hadley and his team if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. We can help create a treatment plan to keep your teeth and gums healthier.