Did you know that over 25 million people in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes? Even more startling is the fact that roughly 80 million people have symptoms of prediabetes. Patients with diabetes are instructed to test their blood glucose levels, be very mindful of what they eat, and exercise frequently. While these actions are very important for controlling diabetes, many diabetic patients may be unaware how diabetes impacts their oral health—especially the development of gum disease. Your San Diego periodontist, Dr. Ann Kania explains.
How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
Because diabetes impacts a patient’s immune system, diabetics are less likely to fight off infection. High blood sugar levels impair the body’s ability to fight bacteria. Diabetes also impacts saliva production. Because saliva helps naturally rinse the mouth and teeth, a decrease in saliva affects the PH level in the mouth. This condition may lead to an increased risk for tooth decay or gum disease. Patients with diabetes are also more susceptible to oral fungal infections such as thrush.
Diabetes and Gum Disease
Research shows that diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease. Periodontal disease can actually cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Because gum disease involves the infection and inflammation of gum tissue, a weakened immune system makes fighting off periodontal diseases more difficult. Diabetics with periodontitis may experience a more aggressive deterioration of their oral health than non-diabetic patients.
Oral Healthcare Tips for Diabetic Patients
Dr. Kania encourages patients to pay close attention to their blood glucose levels. Controlling blood sugar is key to managing diabetes and preventing systemic health complications. Furthermore, diabetics should practice meticulous oral hygiene. Patients with diabetes may need to visit our office more frequently to closely monitor their oral health and remove tartar buildup. Our team also encourages patients to drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain a healthy oral PH level.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kania, contact our Encinitas periodontist office at (760) 642-0711. We serve patients from Del Mar, La Costa, Rancho Santa Fe, and the neighboring San Diego communities.