Diabetes affects your body’s ability to use glucose, or blood sugar into energy. Diabetes can cause many complications. Complications include nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and even blindness. A common complication is gum disease and other oral health problems.
Dental diseases: tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontitis, abscesses…If not diagnosed and treated early, patients can have serious consequences such as tooth loss, premature tooth loss or gum recession, even Even tooth abscess causes bacteremia.
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are at increased risk for gingivitis, gum disease, and periodontitis (severe gingivitis because it destroys bone). Diabetes also affects your ability to fight bacteria that cause gum infections. Gum disease also affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar.
In the US, where nearly 21 million people have diabetes, researchers have reported a significant increase in gum disease in people with diabetes in recent years. Moreover, severe periodontal disease has been included in the list of complications associated with diabetes such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.
1. How does Diabetes Affect the Teeth?
Normally, there is always a certain amount of glucose (sugar) in saliva. When diabetes is not well controlled, sugar levels in the saliva also rise, creating an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to grow. Bacteria combine with food to form plaque, which can cause tooth decay, gum disease or bad breath.
In addition, high blood sugar also makes blood vessels vulnerable to narrowing, reducing blood flow to nourish the gums along with the body’s immune function is also weakened. Therefore, people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum infections (early stages of gum disease), and periodontal disease (severe gingivitis).
Diabetes creates favorable conditions cause dental diseases, but also the impact of oral diseases back to work glycemic control becomes more difficult.
2. Oral Complications of Diabetics
2.1. Tooth decay
It is not surprising that there are many studies linking diabetes with an increased risk of tooth decay, as both diseases are closely related to glucose levels in the body. These studies have found that high blood sugar directly correlates with high rates of tooth decay.
Part of this is due to reduced salivation, a consequence of poor metabolism experienced by diabetics. That causes an overgrowth of bacteria and acids that erode tooth enamel, causing enamel demineralization and ultimately damage to the tooth structure, which most people call caries.
When eating foods containing a lot of sugar and starch, it will become a source of research for bacteria and fungi to multiply. These bacteria will use sugar and excrete acidic products. This type of substance will cause erosion and create holes in the teeth that damage the enamel. In addition, the leftover food in between the teeth, if not cleaned regularly, also creates a favorable environment for bacteria to grow.
2.2. Gingivitis and periodontitis
Gingivitis, periodontitis inherently has a high incidence in the community, but in people with diabetes this rate is much higher and often severe.
Regarding the mechanism of gingivitis in people with diabetes, it also originates from dental plaque.
If gingivitis is not detected and corrected early, it will lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis causes many effects on oral health, destroys soft tissues, bones and ligaments supporting teeth, … the most serious is causing diabetic patients’ teeth to be loose, receding gums, severe cases can lead to tooth loss (also called diabetic tooth loss).
Warning: Untreated periodontitis is dangerous to the general health of diabetics. Periodontitis pathogens in the bloodstream can cause inflammation anywhere in the body. Damaged blood vessels supplying organs increase the risk of heart, kidney, eye and nerve diseases. Possible consequences: heart attack and stroke. This increases the mortality rate of diabetics.
2.3. Dry mouth
Dry mouth is a very common condition in diabetics. The reason for this phenomenon is because the secretion of saliva in diabetics is reduced more than in normal people, leading to lack of water and dry mouth. This is also one of the factors that make patients susceptible to oral diseases such as tooth decay, bad breath, gingivitis, thrush, etc.
2.4. Infection and slow healing
Diabetes reduces resistance to infection, slows wound healing, and makes gum and mouth surgery difficult. This makes it difficult to control blood sugar levels after surgery. Doctors order blood sugar levels to be checked before any invasive oral surgery or procedures. In cases where the diabetes is not well controlled, the procedure should be delayed.
3. What are the Signs that Diabetes has Caused Dental Complications?
According to dentists, when diabetes is not controlled, these signs will manifest in the gums. The gums will become inflamed, there are many abscesses that cause swelling and pain in the oral cavity. This is very important to be aware of because bacteria entering from the gums and blood can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
Your dentist can also detect thrush, an inflammatory disease caused by fungus that grows in the mouth. Signs of this condition include red or white patches in various places on the mouth, causing pain or becoming sores.
Periodontitis often develops almost unnoticed. They often realize when it’s too late. The consequences are more serious. To recognize the early signs of the disease, you should pay attention to the following symptoms:
- Frequent bleeding gums
- Severe red and swollen gums
- Bad taste in the mouth or bad breath
- Excessive plaque or tartar
- Receding gums
- Loosen teeth
If you find these warning signs, see your dentist. He will advise you and treat the symptoms first. This can stop the process of the disease quickly.
4. How to Take Care of Oral Health in Patients with Diabetes
Did you know that there are more bacteria living in the mouth of each person than there are people on this earth? If bacteria make a “home” in your gums, you may have periodontal disease. In fact, people with diabetes have a higher risk of gum problems due to poor blood sugar control. Like all infections, severe gum disease can cause blood sugar levels to rise.
This makes diabetes harder to control because you’re more susceptible to infections and less able to fight bacteria that invade your gums.
4.1. Take good control of your blood sugar!
Always monitor your blood sugar and follow your doctor’s instructions to keep your blood sugar within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
All dental interventions such as diabetics with tooth extraction, diabetics with gum disease, other oral diabetes can only be performed when the patient has good control of blood sugar and keeps blood sugar at a stable level.
Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The right diet for diabetes has a positive effect on your blood sugar. This not only improves your oral health, but also your general condition.
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4.2. Brush your teeth at least twice a day
You should brush your teeth in the morning, at night, and ideally after meals and snacks. Besides, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride, avoid scrubbing hard because it can irritate the gums.
You might consider using an electric toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to clean your teeth thoroughly. You should change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.
4.3. Chew sugar-free gum after a snack
This stimulates the flow of saliva, which neutralizes the acid on the teeth. This reduces the risk of tooth decay and keeps your teeth healthy.
4.4. Flossing at least once a day
You should floss to help remove plaque between your teeth and below your gum line. If you have trouble flossing between your teeth, use waxed ones.
4.5.. Go to the dentist regularly
You should visit your dentist at least twice a year for a check-up and cleaning of your teeth and oral cavity. Also, make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes and has contact information for your doctor to help you manage your diabetes.
Look for and report early signs of gum disease to your dentist, including red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Some other signs you may experience include dry mouth, loose teeth, or mouth pain.
4.6. Drink a lot of water
You can also relieve dry mouth by getting enough fluids in your body. In this way, increased saliva can better protect your teeth from bacterial attacks.
4.7. Quit smoking
if you are having this bad habit. Smoking is not only a potential risk for lung diseases that cause lung cancer, but it is also one of the main factors that contribute to the development of oral diseases such as periodontitis, thrush, bad breath, etc.
4.8. Consider using mouthwash
For extra protection for oral health, dentists may recommend that diabetics use a mouthwash suitable to remove plaque between the teeth, Prevents the risk of tooth decay and gingivitis.
Oral complications of diabetes cause a lot of serious impacts on the quality of daily life. Early detection and treatment of the disease can help people with diabetes live better. So take action today to protect your oral health.
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