Is there a link between poor oral health and diabetes?

toothbrush and mirror

The link between poor oral health and diabetes has been made clear by a number of research studies. Research has revealed that diabetes doesn’t just affect blood sugar control but can harm the eyes, nerves, heart and negatively impact oral health too. However, just because you’ve got diabetes, it doesn’t mean you need to give in to dental problems. By looking after your teeth properly and keeping on top of oral hygiene you’ll be able to stamp out any issues before they become a problem.

Much research conducted over the last few years shows that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical & Translational Endocrinology, people with diabetes are 1.46 times more likely to lose their teeth than healthy patients. The risk is higher for people with Type 2 diabetes, who are three times more likely to develop dental problems than those without diabetes. However, there’s still an increased risk for people with Type 1 diabetes too.

The reason behind this increased risk is that the high blood glucose levels, experienced by diabetics, trigger infection in the body to spread more easily. Keeping blood glucose levels under control reduces this risk.

What symptoms do I need to look out for?

Gum disease develops over time. It occurs when bacteria in the mouth begins to form into a sticky plaque that sits on the surface of your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth properly will remove this plaque and prevent stage one (gingivitis) from developing.

If you develop gingivitis you will likely experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Red, swollen, inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums

With gum disease comes a multitude of further problems including chewing difficulties, pain and inflammation, and in come cases tooth loss.

If you spot any of the symptoms described above, visit our dentist practice in Blackburn.

How can I best look after my teeth?

As oral health problems have been linked to poor blood glucose control it’s important to take measures to manage this. If your diabetes is well controlled, you shouldn’t have any problems, but let it slip and your teeth could begin to suffer.

teeth being brushed and checked

Alongside managing your blood glucose levels it’s also important to follow all the usual guidance. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily using a good quality toothbrush
  • Flossing your teeth at least once a day
  • Visiting your dentist bi-annually and whenever any issues occur
  • Getting an intensive clean by your dental hygienist once or twice a year

If you’re worried about your dental health or the impact of diabetes on your teeth, why not book an appointment to see us today? During you’ll check up we can assess the health of your teeth, discuss any concerns, and give you advice on how to best maintain your smile. Get in touch with the team on 01254 297 000.

 

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you know anyone who’s become victim to both health problems? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @APSmilecare

Posted on: 27th May, 2016