If you have diabetes, chances are you already have enough on your proverbial plate to deal with. But unfortunately, the problems with diabetes don't stop with your blood sugar level. If you didn't know, your diabetes could be putting your teeth and gums at risk. Here's how.
When you have diabetes, you tend to have a higher blood sugar than most. This isn't just limited to your blood, however. Saliva also carries a certain amount of glucose, and when you have diabetes, the amount of glucose goes up. Glucose is, of course, just a simple sugar, and that simple sugar can increase the risk of developing cavities as well as causing gum disease.
People who have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. This is due to a variety of reasons, starting with the fact that those who have diabetes tend to have a harder time warding off any kind of infection. The body's response to infection is dulled when you have diabetes. But on top of that, your gums will also have weakened circulation, which can increase the risk of developing gum disease. This is because it's harder for your body's immune system to fight the disease when it can't get there as effectively. After all, your white blood cells — your disease-fighters — travel through the bloodstream. If there's a diminished amount of blood making it to your gums, then the number of white blood cells will decrease as well.
What to Do
Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean that you're doomed to have poor oral health for the rest of your life. There are a few things you can do to help your teeth and gums out.
For starters, work with your general physician to control your diabetes as well as you can. This may require changing your diet or starting on medication, but improved blood sugar numbers will help to reduce the amount of glucose in your saliva.
Secondly, make a plan to visit a dentist more often than you already do. Dentists typically recommend that people come in for cleaning once or twice a year, but for someone with diabetes, that number could double. It will greatly help to protect your teeth and gums, so it's worth it.
Visiting a dentist more often will help them to catch problems like gum disease or cavities early on, allowing you a quicker recovery.
Contact a clinic like Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for more information.