Diabetes and Oral Health
As you probably already know, there are many people who suffer from the condition known as diabetes. What you might not know is that approximately 9.3 percent of people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with or suffer from some form of diabetes. However, 1 in 4 suffers are still not aware of their condition and are not receiving the treatment they need. Nor do most people realize how diabetes and oral health are connected.
With such astronomical numbers, chances are likely that you’ve either met or know someone personally who suffers from diabetes, and therefore have at least some understanding of what living with diabetes is like. However, understanding the full extent of living with this disease and the challenges a diabetic must face is another thing entirely. From following a strict diet, to altering one’s daily activity routine, managing such issues are certainly very very important.
Nevertheless, one issue that always remains paramount in successfully managing diabetes and oral health, as failure to maintain one’s oral health can stir up a hornet’s nest of problems that are almost certainly guaranteed to result in disastrous or potentially fatal consequences.
Diabetes and Oral Health: Periodontal Disease is a Diabetic’s Nightmare
When assessing a person’s overall health, oral health is perhaps one of the most overlooked. Often times it’s the rarely-acknowledged aspects that can play a major role in many serious health problems that a person may be experiencing. While most of us have surely forgotten to brush our teeth on one occasion or another, all too often when we do brush we simply scrub for a moment or two, then spit and continue to go about our day. Certainly, this is an easy habit to get into, but if this continues long enough you may find yourself facing several oral heath issues, including that of periodontal disease.
Whether commonly known as periodontal disease, periodontitis, perio or simply gum disease, this condition is commonly thought of as something of a nuisance that merely discolors your teeth or gives you bad breath. This however is a gross misconception, as truthfully periodontal disease is a progressive infection that begins in the gums surrounding your teeth, and eventually spreads throughout the mouth causing major inflammation and damage to everything it reaches. In some of the more severe cases, gum disease has been known to almost entirely destroy a sufferer’s jawbone, or even spread into other regions of body, thereby triggering additional illnesses or interacting with preexisting ones.
Related Article: Bad Teeth? You May Need Perio Treatment
Diabetes and Oral Health: Signs and Symptoms
While the symptoms of diabetes are certainly notable, as it affects nearly all aspects of your health; however, if left unchecked and it may likely begin interacting with and affecting your oral health almost immediately. Therefore, some of the telltale signs of this internal interaction are, but are not limited to:
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Frequent bouts of thirst and or dry mouth
- Prolonged or slow-healing sores or wounds
- Difficulty tasting certain foods
- Increased susceptibility to additional oral infections or complications
Diabetes and Oral Health: Five Steps To A Healthier Future
Although the sometimes-toxic relationship between diabetes and oral health care can be extremely devastating if untreated, there are ways to reduce or even prevent any further damage from occurring. However, please keep in mind that that doing so will require making it a routine requirement to manage your blood glucose level, while simultaneously practicing the proper oral hygiene required.
- Always remember to brush and floss: While this may seem rather obvious, it’s important to remember that consistency is without doubt, one of the key aspects in successful maintenance of any sort, and your teeth are certainly no exception! Therefore, taking time to both brush and floss everyday is a mandatory first step; remember sometimes it is the simple things that matter most!
- Use proper technique: Again, this may seem obvious, but its very important to stress how proper technique can play a major factor in oral health. Because it’s so routine, many people brush their teeth without even giving it a second thought. Yes, it IS an easy habit to get into, but by taking a few extra minuets daily to thoroughly brush ALL your teeth, and then floss them afterwards can really make a big difference! Also remember brushing at least three times a day will give you the best results, when it comes to brushing, three is the magic number.
- Schedule routine dental appointments: To properly maintain both oral and general health, its imperative that you schedule routine checkups with Dr. Skrobanek at GPS Dental. Generally, most dentists recommend that you make at least two appointments per year; however, as mentioned earlier diabetics are always at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease, and additional appointments might be necessary.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly: While certainly sticking to a healthy diet and exercising is a great idea for anyone, when managing diabetes, it becomes just that much more important. Whether signing up for a gym membership, or just taking the time once a day to walk or jog, finding a way to stay active is the key to not only healthier life, bur a happier one too!
- Don’t Smoke: It’s no secret by now that smoking is bad for you. As smoking can certainly put you at risk for gum disease and additional complications with diabetes. If you are unable to quit and need help, contact your doctor or other credible organizations for assistance; for example: The American Lung Association and The American Cancer Society.
Related Article: Dental Appointment: Includes an Oral Cancer Screening
Diabetes and Oral Health: Fear Not!
Although diabetes can be worrisome issue, and can create very serious repercussions if left untreated, the purpose of this information is not to scare you. But rather to inform you of the potential health hazards of untreated diabetes, particularly that of gum disease and its often-dangerous relationship with diabetes and oral health. Just remember that there are many methods to successfully managing this issue and numerous sources are available to help you. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us at GPS Dental!
Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implants, sleep apnea, TMJ / TMD Treatment, cosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.