Diabetes can affect the body in many ways. But, did you know it also affects your dental health?
According to Diabetes Canada, about 3.4 million Canadians live with diabetes – and about 1 million of them don’t know it. That’s about 9.3 percent of the population, and that figure is estimated to rise to 12.1 percent, or 5 million Canadians, by 2025. Add another estimated 5.7 million in a pre-diabetes state, and it’s a significant chunk of the population.
But, before getting into the dental health issues that can arise, it’s important to keep in mind that, despite the hazards, there is hope, and practical solutions to minimize the risk.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
The stats tell us that there is an increased risk of gum disease for those living with diabetes. In fact, some estimates put it at about 22 percent. It gets more complicated than that. In recent years, some research studies have suggested that gum disease, in turn, can also have consequences when it comes to controlling blood glucose. That means, as the infection develops, it can also make diabetes worse.
• Why does it have an effect on oral health? Diabetes patients are at an increased risk of bacterial infection, combined with a reduced ability to fight those infections when they do occur.
• What are the risk factors? If you have diabetes with blood glucose levels that are not under control, you are more likely to develop gum disease.
Gum health isn’t the only dental issue that can be affected by diabetes. Patients may be at an increased risk of other conditions, including,
• Thrush, a fungal infection;
• Dry mouth;
• Other infections.
Prevention Is The Key
When you have diabetes, maintaining good health practices overall is essential to maintaining good health. The same holds true of dental and oral health in particular.
• Keeping blood glucose levels under control will significantly reduce any increased risks associated with diabetes;
• Daily dental hygiene is essential, including the basics of brushing with a soft toothbrush, and flossing between teeth, and you can ask your dentist for a recommendation of an effective antibacterial mouthwash;
• Regular checkups with your dentist every six months, so that any problems can be spotted early on;
• Avoid smoking, which adds to your risk.
If you have developed the symptoms of gum disease, including:
• Inflamed, bright red gums;
• Frequent bleeding gums, tenderness;
• Persistent and unexplained bad breath;
• Chewing can be painful;
• Teeth are sensitive, and even loosen as the disease progresses from gingivitis to periodontal;
• Receding gums.
Your best defense is to get to your dentist as soon as you can. Studies have shown that treating gum disease may also help to improve your blood glucose levels, so it’s important to take care of the issue as soon as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns about diabetes and oral health, gum disease, or any other dental health issue, your dentist is the right person to ask. You’ll find the answers at Dr. Robert Axelrad’s Dental Office in Brampton, ON.
If you’re looking for a well-regarded and highly skilled dentist in the Brampton area, make an appointment with Dr. Robert Axelrad by calling (905)-791-3867. Visit our website to learn more about our dental services.