Diabetes is a misunderstood disease. And stress is an underestimated affliction. Together the two can put your health in serious danger, and also cause serious damage to your teeth and gums. This is not a chicken or the egg situation: Research has shown that high stress levels may be responsible for causing type 2 diabetes. A 25-year study tracked 1.5 million Swedish men, testing their ability to cope with stress and whether or not they developed diabetes as a result of anxiety and tension. The men with poor stress management were 1.5 times more likely to develop diabetes. Which makes diabetic dentistry all the more relevant in today’s high-stress, poor-health culture.
Stress Increases Your Diabetes Risk
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way a person’s body is able to process blood sugar. Chronic stress also impacts a body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. We’ve all heard of cortisol, the stress hormone, and it’s your body’s response to stress that can trigger high blood sugar. (Hormones of all sorts can affect your teeth.) For people who are dealing with persistent levels of stress, it’s more difficult for a body to control its blood sugar. Over time, these high cortisol levels will pose a serious health problem.
Lifestyle also plays a part in the development and continuation of stress and diabetes. When you’re feeling low, overwhelmed, and exhausted, you’re more likely to make that fast food run and sit in front of the television than nosh on a salad and spend 30 minutes on the treadmill. Bad habits like eating unhealthy foods and neglecting to exercise obviously contribute to weight gain and, in turn, can cause insulin resistance.
Experts recommend focusing on better managing daily demands, but that isn’t always easy if you have a demanding occupation, a busy family, or other underlying health issues. You might be surprised to learn that the Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute advises not adding more to your to-do list but less. A 15-minute walk (think briskly walking to lunch instead of driving your car around the block) is a good effort that, over time, can help bring down your cortisol levels and, therefore, your blood sugar levels too.
Now, what does this all have to do with oral health? Your teeth hold more answers than you may think.
Your Holistic Dentist: Integral to Your Health Care Team
A holistic dentist is attuned to diabetes symptoms, and even before you realize that this disease is festering in your body, your dentist may see the signs. Serious dry mouth is a sign of diabetes, as well as chronic bad breath and cuts or burns in the mouth that are slow to heal.
Something else that you may not have known: There is a link between diabetes and gum disease. An inflammatory health problem, gum disease can cause tooth loss, bone loss, bad breath, and more. Combine this with diabetes and a person’s mortality rate increases exponentially.
In general, stress poses a major threat to a person’s immune system, and that can lead to a host of health problems, including diabetes, gum disease, and so much more. When you visit your holistic dentist for treatment, biocompatibility testing may be recommended in order to determine the most compatible restorative dentistry or cosmetic dentistry options for you. Along the way, you may discover health problems that were otherwise unknown to you. A trip to the dentist can save your life.
Make an appointment with your holistic dentist, Dr. Yolanda Cintron, at the International Center for Dental Excellence in Fort Lauderdale to discuss your oral health, diabetes risk, and biocompatibility testing.