Diabetes is becoming an increasingly common disease, affecting over 29 million Americans each year. Both forms of diabetes, Type I and Type II, cause high blood sugar levels and can lead to major health problems for any affected individual.
The signs and symptoms of diabetes appear throughout every part of the body, even your teeth. If you do not seek proper care or treatment for your diabetes, it can take a devastating toll on your oral health. If you suffer from Type I or Type II diabetes, you may experience the following oral health problems:
Dry mouth: Research has found that people with diabetes tend to generate less saliva. This issue can lead to extreme thirst.
High cavity risk: Because individuals with diabetes generate less saliva, which cleans and protects teeth, these individuals are also at a higher risk of cavities.
Gum disease: Poor blood sugar control, a problem associated with diabetes, increases the chance of gum problems. This problem, combined with a weakened immune system, makes it hard for individuals with diabetes to fight off the infection of gum disease. Gum disease is the biggest oral health problem affecting those with diabetes.
Infections: Diabetes weakens your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infections. It is difficult for individuals with diabetes to fight off oral infections, such as periodontal disease (gum disease) and candidiasis (thrush).
Change in or loss of taste: Individuals with diabetes may experience problems tasting foods or a change in the flavor of certain foods.
Slow healing: Again, a weakened immune system and poor blood sugar control can delay the body’s healing process. Individuals with diabetes may find that cuts and cold sores that form in the mouth take much longer to heal.
Taking control of your dental care with the help of a qualified and caring dentist can play a major part in getting your oral health back on track. You can help yourself and your oral health by visiting the dentist regularly. Additionally, dentists recommend that patients with diabetes practice self-care when it comes to oral health and health in general: control your blood sugar levels, take your prescribed medications, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking, and brush and floss twice a day. Changing these few things can help to improve your overall health, which in turn will improve your oral health.
If you are looking for an experienced and compassionate dentist to meet all of your dental care needs, consider Dr. Gary Bram. Dr. Bram works with many patients who have diabetes and he is dedicated to helping you get your health back on track. If you have any questions, want to learn more about oral health and diabetes, or are interested in scheduling an appointment, contact our office at (718) 260-6175 today.