Any holistic dentist will tell you that an unhealthy mouth can make other afflictions far worse, especially diabetes. One of the fastest-growing diseases in the United States, diabetes affects an estimated 285 million people worldwide. Seven million people develop diabetes every year.
Diabetes sufferers are at a greater risk for developing gum disease, which means they are in danger of major oral health problems and losing their teeth.
Brushing and flossing at home and keeping up with professional cleanings every six months are essential to maintaining oral health for everyone, but diabetics in particular need to tend carefully to their teeth.
People with diabetes need to know the oral complications to which they are susceptible:
- Poor blood glucose control contributes to the likelihood and severity of gum disease.
- Diabetics are more likely to develop dry mouth, which can lead to tooth decay, ulcers, infections, and soreness.
- Blood glucose levels and gum problems are a two-way street. Serious gum disease may affect blood glucose, making it harder to control, and therefore contribute to the progression of diabetes.
- If you have diabetes, you are at greater risk for gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease) and, ultimately, periodontitis (serious gum disease).
- People with diabetes are more susceptible to bacterial infection and their ability to fight the bacteria that can invade the gums is compromised.
- People with diabetes are at risk of developing thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth.
- Inflammation is a symptom of gum disease as well as cardiovascular disease. Diabetics have a 400 percent greater chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
- The development of gum disease can turn a prediabetic into a diabetic.
Our mouths are filled with naturally occurring bacteria, but it’s the job of your saliva combined with a diligent cleaning routine that combat the bacteria before it turns foods into acids that eat away at your enamel and damage your gums. Diabetes sufferers need to be even more diligent about their oral health than a non-diabetes sufferer.
Whether you are a diabetic or not, if you are experiencing bleeding gums, swollen or tender gums, bad breath, gums that have pulled away from the teeth, loose teeth, or changes in how your teeth fit together when you bite, these are all signs of gum disease and should be addressed immediately.
Seek out a holistic dentist who is experienced in treating diabetics and tending to their unique oral health concerns. Even if you have been living with diabetes for a long time, and even if your disease is very serious, good dental care can help you achieve a better quality of life. Make an appointment with Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence. She specializes in diabetic dentistry and can help you fight this disease by establishing and maintaining good oral health.