Diabetes mellitus is a world-wide health problem, and it is growing. In Ireland, approximately 200,000 have been diagnosed with Type II diabetes, while another 100,000 already have high levels of glucose in their blood, but will only be diagnosed with Type II diabetes when they encounter some sort of health problem due to their condition. Even worse, it is expected these figures will double over the next couple of years.
The Connection between Diabetes and Oral Health
A number of clinical studies have shown a connection between serious gum disease or periodontal disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately people who have diabetes are more susceptible towards developing periodontal disease, but it’s also thought that gum disease has the potential to affect diabetes, as it may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels, and could lead to the progression of diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition that affects the immune system, and people with diabetes are more at risk of developing infections, including bacterial infection in the mouth due to their decreased ability to fight bacteria. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to an increase in the amount of glucose in the saliva and this in turn provides the perfect fuel for bacteria. As a result the numbers of the bacteria can multiply more quickly and will produce more toxins to irritate and inflame the gums.
Advanced gum disease or periodontal disease causes the gums to frequently bleed, allowing bacteria from the mouth to enter into the bloodstream. It’s thought the presence of these bacteria makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels, exacerbating the problem even more. In addition diabetics tend to be more at risk of developing other oral health conditions such as dry mouth, ulcers and thrush. Diabetics are less able to heal as the condition can narrow the blood vessels, preventing the transport of essential nutrients to the gums, and the removal of harmful toxins.
Ask Us for Help and Advice
If you do have diabetes then make sure your dentist in Dublin is aware of your condition. We may recommend additional treatments to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. This might include additional professional cleanings with one of our hygienists and possibly more frequent check-ups. We can work with you to help mitigate the effects of the conditions such as dry mouth and ulcers. You can also help yourself by making sure your blood sugar is levels are as well controlled as you can manage. Ensuring you brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and that you floss once a day will help to ensure your mouth is kept as clean as possible.
Gum disease is one of the major causes of tooth loss, and one of the best ways of replacing missing teeth is through having dental implants in Dublin. Unfortunately this treatment may not always be suitable for diabetics, especially if the disease is not well controlled. If you are diabetic and are thinking about having implants in Dublin, then we do urge you to discuss this with one of our dentists. We will only recommend this treatment if we think it’s suitable for you and has a high chance of success. Otherwise there are still lots of alternative methods of tooth replacement that may suit you a little better.