Millions of Americans live with autoimmune disorders, and the most prevalent is diabetes. In fact, 29 million have either Type I or Type II of the condition. Diabetes affects nearly every aspect of these people’s health, in ways that may not be apparent on the surface.
Damage to the eyes and the extremities are very common in diabetic patients, as it damages the capillaries. Capillaries are the smallest form of blood vessels in the body, and are very fragile. When the blood can’t reach these areas, the body cannot defend against infection and heals at a significantly slower rate.
High Blood Sugar Affects Saliva
High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, can create problems for the body in a whole host of ways. One method that is often overlooked is the increase in salivary glucose. As sugar levels in the bloodstream increase, the body attempts to rid itself of the excess through our body’s natural secretions.
Unfortunately, this creates an environment in the mouth that is similar to one of someone who has been drinking soda or eating candy. Bacteria within our mouths feed upon the saliva itself. So unlike with food particles, brushing your teeth will not make this issue better.
Dehydration And Dry Mouth
While expelling this excess sugar, the body increases its production of fluids, primarily through urination. This means that the body is much more likely to become dehydrated, and rapidly.
Saliva is a highly antibacterial liquid, full of enzymes that keep our mouth safe. Diabetics see a greatly increased level of infection if their glucose levels are not maintained properly.
Due to dry mouth, patients with diabetes are much more likely to develop periodontal disease, or gum disease. This leads to a recession of the gums, uncovering the roots of the teeth. Without the protection of the gums, the interior of the tooth is exposed to bacterial growth. With this, 1 in 5 instances of tooth loss are related to diabetes!
Dentists also note that thrush and other fungal infections of the mouth are observed more often in diabetic patients. As diabetics heal more slowly, the sores that these infections cause can become dangerous to the mouth.
What Steps Should You Take?
As with any patient, proper oral hygiene begins with an appropriate daily regimen. Make sure to brush your teeth twice daily, and do not forget to floss and use a daily oral rinse.
Specifically for those with diabetes, tightly controlled blood glucose will significantly help in oral health results. By keeping your levels as close to a healthy patient as possible, you minimize the damage to the body. And if you smoke, now is certainly the time to quit.
Questions About Your Smile?
If you are having any issues with your oral health, please give Dr. Hofkes at Balboa Dental Surgery a call at (949)630-0143. Or stop by our office here in Newport Beach, CA!