Diabetes and Your Smile

Diabetes is an illness that can affect every facet of your health. You should visit your dentist regularly for a lot of different reasons but one of them is because your dentist can spot early signs of diabetes. That’s because diabetes can cause a lot of oral health problems. We’re going to delve into a few of those now. You should know that if you have diabetes, it’s important to visit your dentist on a more frequent basis then if you don’t have the illness.

Glucose and Saliva

The main effect diabetes has on your smile is a result of elevated levels of glucose, more commonly known as sugar. There’s glucose in your saliva, and that can encourage bacterial growth –  the exact type of growth your dentist is trying to help you avoid by telling you to abstain from sugary drinks, candy, and other high-glucose snacks. The bacteria create plaque from the food you’re eating and people with diabetes are more prone to plaque build-up than folks who don’t have the illness. That plaque can quickly become tartar, which can only be removed by an oral health care professional.

Another thing that seems to be associated with high glucose levels in your saliva is dry mouth. We’re not entirely sure why diabetes causes dry mouth, but there’s fairly strong evidence to suggest a correlation. Dry mouth can aggravate oral health problems, just like elevated levels of plaque can, so it’s important to drink a lot of water when you have diabetes in order to keep saliva production up. Your dentist may also recommend a number of other treatments to keep dry mouth at a minimum.

How This Affects Your Smile

There are a number of oral health problems that stem from the conditions we just talked about. You’ll be more prone to cavities because the bacteria that hide in tartar slowly wear away at the enamel of your teeth. You’ll also be much more prone to gum disease –  plaque and tartar around your gums cause them to become irritated and they’ll often start bleeding. Bacteria can get into the gums, creating infection and then the gums start to recede. When you have advanced gum disease, it’s difficult for your body to fight off the infection because diabetes lowers your immune system’s ability to respond. This creates a vicious cycle – your gums become more infected, which can cause your blood glucose levels to rise, which makes you less capable of fighting off the infection… the cycle continues. That’s why it’s so important to come see us regularly if you have diabetes. Our Winnipeg dentists will help you keep your gums and teeth healthy so you won’t need to resort to dentures, implants, or other tooth replacements. For those who do need to have teeth replaced, we’ll be diligent and honest with you about your options, and help you come to the best solution to suit your needs.