Diabetes and Your Mouth – How are they linked?
Currently more than 10 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. That is almost 1/3 of our entire population. People with diabetes suffer from heart and stroke disease 2-4 times more than non-diabetics, blindness, kidney failure, amputations, earlier death and many more health complications. Chances are that you know someone that is affected by diabetes. It is a disease that has a huge cost not only monetarily but on quality of life as well.
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the blood sugar levels in the blood stream are not controlled. There are two reasons this happens. One reason is that insulin production is too low. The other reason is that the body has become unable to use the insulin that is produced. This is called insulin resistant diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced naturally in the body that helps cells use the sugars for energy or store it as fat. Uncontrolled high blood sugar levels lead to the many debilitating complications and fatalities associated with diabetes.
Diabetes and periodontal disease (infection and inflammation of your gums) are very closely intertwined.
Diabetes, especially if poorly controlled, causes multiple issues in the mouth:
• Increase risk of periodontal disease (gum disease) which has been linked to increased risk in heart disease, strokes, pneumonia, pregnancy difficulties and many more
• Increase risk of tooth loss often leading to poor nutrition making dietary control of diabetes difficult
• Increase susceptibility to fungal infections (thrush) in the mouth
• Increase incidence of dry mouth or burning mouth syndromes which lead to a host of other problems
• Slow healing therefore increased risk of infection after dental surgery
Periodontal disease causes increased levels of systemic inflammation leading to:
• Insulin resistance (the body is unable to use the insulin it produces potentially moving someone into prediabetes or diabetes)
• Infection causing difficulty controlling blood sugar levels
• Increased risk of tooth loss often leading to poor nutrition
• Contributes to the many conditions that diabetic suffer from
So, what does this all mean to you?
For diabetics, it is very important to have regular visits to your dentist and hygienist. They can help you effectively control the periodontal disease and teach you the best home care practices for a healthier mouth and healthier life.
By minimizing or treating Periodontal disease you can have a tremendous impact on your overall health. Regular exams by your Calgary dentist and cleaning by your hygienist can keep periodontal disease in check. Also by spending only five minutes a day brushing and flossing (that is way less time than visiting the gym), you can help your body be a healthier place to live.
If you would like more information or to book an appointment
please contact our dental office in downtown Calgary.
A Guide to Patient Care: The Oral-Systemic Health Connection – Michael Glick – 2015