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The Link Between Your Teeth and Diabetes


Posted on 11/3/2021 by Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates
Close up of diabetes entry in a dictionaryDid you know that one out of every 5 cases of tooth loss is linked to diabetes?

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It may surprise you, but your dentist can be a helpful resource when it comes to preventing, detecting, and treating aspects of diabetes.

The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health


There is a close relationship between diabetes and oral health. One of the most common side effects of diabetes is gum disease. Put simply, if good oral health isn't maintained, it is much harder to control blood sugar levels, and vice versa.
It is commonly known that sugar is bad for oral health. It is also commonly known among people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes that managing their blood sugar level is vitally important.

When the harmful bacteria (that occurs naturally in our mouths) interacts with sugar and starch left behind after we eat, it forms a sticky film know as plaque. The acids in that plaque eat away at the surface of your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. High blood sugar levels increase these interactions, increasing the amount of plaque for people with diabetes.

The longer that plaque stays on the teeth, the more damage it can do to teeth and gums, causing irritation, swelling, bleeding, and sometimes infection. If left untreated, this can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, causing them to loosen and possibly fall out.

Diabetes lowers our immune system capacity and makes healing very slow. But an infection in your gums could cause blood sugar levels to rise, which makes fighting off infection to the oral cavity and controlling blood sugar levels more difficult.

How to Take Action


There are several things you can do to help keep your oral health and your diabetes in good care.
•  Make a commitment to manage your diabetes well, using instruction from your doctor.
•  Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
•  Use a soft-bristled, electronic toothbrush and replace the head every 3 months, or after you are sick.
•  Floss every single day at least once.
•  Visit your dentist at regularly, which is most often at least twice per year for professional cleanings, x-rays and check-ups.
•  Don't smoke. Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and other serious diabetic complications. If you smoke, as your doctor or dentist about options to help you quit.

If you take these steps, you (and your smile) will be healthier for a lifetime!

We're ready to fight for your oral health. Call our office at 725-257-2220.
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