Dental Care for Diabetics

Proper oral health care is important for diabetics. Substantial research has shown that high sugar levels associated with diabetes can contribute to oral health issues, and that periodontal disease can contribute to diabetes. Today, your Lake Forest Dentist, Dr. Fondriest, discusses dental care and diabetes.

What Is Diabetes?

When you eat the food is broken down into sugar which regulates your metabolism and gives you energy. This sugar travels through your blood stream. Insulin is needed to transfer the sugar from your blood stream into your cells to be used for energy. Diabetes develops when your pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, or when the insulin produced by the pancreas is rejected by your body preventing it from utilizing energy from food. Non-diabetics can produce insulin and utilize it successfully. A diabetic either does not produce enough insulin, or their body cannot use the insulin effectively to convert sugars into energy. Therefore, the sugar remains in their bloodstream resulting in hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.

Diabetes Link with Periodontal Disease

Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes. If you’re one of them did you know that periodontal disease is a complication associated with this chronic illness? There is an increased prevalence of gingivitis (the early stages of gum disease) and periodontitis (severe gum disease) among diabetics. This is an added issue that diabetics have to worry about along with eye sight problems, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. Interestingly enough, research indicates that the relationship between gum disease and diabetes runs two ways. Diabetics run a higher risk of developing gum disease and gum disease may play havoc with glucose levels contributing to diabetes.

Diabetics More Susceptible to Gum Disease

It can often be a challenge for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels under control. High sugar levels can weaken white blood cells which help fight off harmful oral bacteria that attack gingival tissue. Without this defense oral bacteria feed on the sugars and other debris in the oral cavity and in the process replicate, doubling the harmful bacteria. This can result in gingival infection, or periodontitis. At this stage of periodontal disease the gums pull away from your teeth forming pockets between the tooth and gums. Bacteria and pus collect in the pockets and the pockets deepen. Gingival surgery may be required or else the infection will travel to the supporting jaw bone causing deterioration, loose teeth, and eventual tooth loss.

Also when a diabetic is having a hard time controlling their blood sugar, sugar levels remain high throughout the body including in the oral cavity. More sugar in the mouth attracts more bacteria leading to periodontal disease. It has also been indicated that gum disease can raise blood sugar levels contributing to the development and progression of diabetes, and making the disease harder to control. Periodontal disease is more likely to develop in diabetics that have poorly controlled blood glucose levels. There are also other oral health problems diabetics can develop such as thrush (an oral fungal infection); dry mouth which can lead to ulcers, infections, and tooth decay; and burning mouth.

Proper Oral Health Care for Diabetics

Help avoid oral health issues including dry mouth, gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease), delayed healing in the oral cavity, burning mouth or tongue, and thrush by:

  • Keeping your sugar levels under control
  • Brushing your teeth after every meal
  • Flossing daily to prevent plaque and tartar buildup between teeth
  • Rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouth wash
  • Attending professional dental cleanings twice a year
  • Removing and cleaning your dentures daily if you are a denture wearer
  • Not smoking or quitting smoking

Diabetics have special dental and oral health needs. If you are a diabetic, bring it to the attention of your dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, and notify him of any medications you are taking, and of any changes in your condition.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist:

Aside from providing expert family and cosmetic dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.