Diabetes, a disease which affects the body’s ability to process sugar, affects an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States. With Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough insulin, the hormone that carries sugar from the blood to the cells that need it for energy. In Type II, the body stops responding to insulin. Both cases result in high blood sugar levels, which can cause problems with the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of the body.
So what does diabetes have to do with your teeth and gums? A lot, actually. If you’re one of the 9% of the population living with diabetes, taking care of your teeth and mouth is especially important because the condition results in a greater risk of oral infection and often slows the healing process.
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), diabetes raises your risk of gum disease. Having gum disease then raises your risk of diabetes complications due to the fact that gum disease makes it more difficult for a diabetic to keep their blood sugar levels under control. The higher your blood sugar levels, the more likely you are to have plaque buildup on your teeth. Being proactive about treating your condition and caring for your mouth can help you avoid additional dental work beyond regular cleanings.
Gum disease prevention efforts are essential when you have diabetes. Along with getting your diabetes under control, caring for your teeth is an important component. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss morning and night, and rinse daily with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Talk with your dentist in Wheeling, IL, about your condition, being open and honest about the state of your health. Together you can devise a plan to help you have the healthiest mouth possible.