Patients who are struggling with diabetes often face a wide range of challenges. In terms of oral health, research has shown a link between diabetes and an increased risk for dental issues. That suggests that patients who are diagnosed as diabetic should seek specialized dental care in order to offset the risk of oral health concerns, and to address any current issues in their dental health before they become serious problems. At Trailhead Dental, patients can receive specialized care for complex dental conditions.
What is Diabetes and What is the Effect on Oral Health?
Diabetes is a disease that prevents the body from properly converting food into glucose. There are two types of diabetes: Type I, in which the body is unable to produce enough insulin to transport glucose to the body’s cells; and Type II, in which the body is unable to properly respond to insulin. Estimates suggest that nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes, many of whom are completely unaware that they have the disease.
In terms of oral health, patients who have diabetes are at an increased risk for gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease. The gums play a huge role in maintaining an individual’s health, not only because they anchor the teeth in place, but they also serve as a protective barrier between the external environment and the inside of the body.
Are There Other Oral Health Risks for Diabetics?
Aside from gum disease, individuals with diabetes are also at an increased risk for many other oral health issues. Diabetics may suffer from dental decay, and could also experience an increased risk of infection within the mouth. Some people can also experience dysfunctions in their salivary glands, leading to dry mouth, mouth ulcers and an impaired ability to properly taste food. Others are also at an increased risk of fungal infections, commonly referred to as thrush.
How Can Diabetics Protect Their Oral Health?
The first step lies in seeking proper medical care to control diabetes. Next, patients should build a relationship with a dentist and begin a series of regularly scheduled dental checkups. During those appointments, the dental team works to identify any oral health issues and create a customized treatment plan to restore optimal oral health. Studies have shown that among diabetics who also have gum disease, effectively treating the gum disease can help those individuals better regulate their blood sugar levels, which is an essential component of diabetes treatment. At-home oral health care includes establishing and maintaining good brushing and flossing habits and ensuring that any dental devices, such as bridgework or dentures, are kept clean.
At Trailhead Dental, Dr. Bryan Limmer leads a group of dedicated professionals committed to providing the best possible dental care. Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes can schedule an initial consultation to discuss their questions and concerns. From there we’ll get you scheduled for regular appointments and cleanings. Trailhead Dental is able to meet virtually any set of needs, and can provide patients with a range of options such as dental implants and prosthodontics. Contact us today to learn more, or to get started on the path to improved oral health.