Blood sugar levels have a major impact on your teeth and gums

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects multiple aspects of our body’s function, with oral health among the most important factors when it comes to diabetic risk factors. The dental professionals at Dr. Dennis Lucas’s office help patients understand how diabetes impacts oral health and steps you can take to minimize the effects.

National Diabetes Month in November is good time to enhance your knowledge base when it comes to diabetes and oral health. Almost one in every 10 people has some form of diabetes, meaning this is a very prevalent risk factor among the population.

Type 1 diabetes refers to the body’s inability to make enough insulin, which is the hormone that carries sugar from our blood to the cells for use as energy. Type 2 diabetes, often referred to as adult-onset diabetes, is when the body stops responding to insulin. Both types of diabetes result in high blood sugar levels, which is where diabetes and oral health come into play.


Ways that diabetes affects your oral health

Diabetes can impact oral health in a number of ways, including some that may surprise you. Chronically increased blood sugar levels have been shown to lower the body’s resistance to infection by compromising the immune system.

High blood sugar – and poor blood sugar control in general – increases your risk for gum problems by as much as triple. According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease affects nearly 22 percent of diabetics, making it the most common dental disease for those diagnosed with diabetes. Serious gum disease can cause your blood sugar levels to increase and make your body less able to fight off the bacteria in your gums.

Did you know that sustained high blood sugar levels can lead to dry mouth issues? This is a more serious problem than you might think. Saliva protects your teeth by flushing the soft tissues and root surfaces, along with preventing demineralization of your teeth that allows for rapid decay and fungal infections.

Those with diabetes also may experience problems tasting food and delayed wound healing. The increased inflammation that comes with a compromised immune system has been linked to osteoarthritis. This can extend to pain in your jaw joints and other generalized pain.


How you can take control of your diabetes and oral health

Monitoring your blood sugar levels and taking steps to minimize the swings between high and low are extremely important to your overall health. A combination of self-care and professional care can keep your smile healthy for the long term.

Regular dental visits are extremely important. One in five cases of total tooth loss can be linked to diabetes. Professional cleanings by our team allow us to monitor your oral health and may actually help lower your blood sugar test results.

Be sure to brush your teeth with a soft brush after meals (that’s easier on your gums) and clean between your teeth every day. Take your diabetes medications as directed, eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of exercise.

Call us at (239) 262-5851 to schedule your appointment and ensure you keep diabetes and oral health in check.


About Dr. Dennis Lucas – Naples, Florida, dentist

Dr. Dennis Lucas performs cosmetic and restorative dental techniques, as well as traditional preventive dental services for patients in and around Naples, Florida. His combination of expertise, supported by the latest in dental technology and a holistic approach to care, ensures oral health plays a role in his patients’ total healthcare picture. Call (239) 262-5851 to schedule an appointment.