In recent years, the link between oral health and overall health has become more clear. Research shows that poor oral health can lead to a variety of systemic health conditions, one of which is diabetes. As a member of Brush Club, you value your oral health, and that's why it's important to know the unique risks and challenges diabetes presents to your dental wellbeing.
Oral Care and Diabetes: What You Need to Know
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects your body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels. In 2020, it was estimated that over 34 million people in the U.S had diabetes . People with diabetes are generally grouped into two types: Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body does not produce insulin, and Type 2 diabetes, where the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels.
How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health
Diabetes can significantly impact your oral health, leading to several conditions that require vigilant care and attention. This is due to the elevated blood sugar levels which affect the mouth’s ability to fight off bacteria and infection.
Gum disease, or periodontitis, is more common in people with diabetes. This condition can lead to painful chewing issues and even tooth loss. High blood sugar levels in people with diabetes allow more harmful bacteria to grow that can lead to gum disease.
Learn more with our previous blog on Gum Disease.
Dry mouth, a condition where the mouth does not produce enough saliva, is a common side effect of diabetes. Saliva plays a vital role in oral health, from helping us digest food to protecting our teeth from decay. Without enough saliva, you may be more prone to cavities and gum disease.
Since people with diabetes often have to take antibiotics, they are more susceptible to fungal infections such as oral thrush. This presents as a white coating inside the mouth and can cause uncomfortable symptoms like a bad taste, redness, and mouth sores.
How to Manage Your Oral Health with Diabetes
Regular Dental Check-ups
Routine dental visits are essential for everyone, but even more so for people with diabetes. During these visits, dentists can detect early signs of oral health problems and provide appropriate treatment before they become severe. Don’t forget to inform your dentist about your diabetes status.
Optimal Oral Hygiene Practices
Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily can help keep your mouth clean and healthy. Brush Club provides eco-friendly dental supplies delivered to your door, ensuring you never run out of toothbrushes or floss. The biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes from Brush Club are not only great for the environment but also perfect for maintaining oral hygiene.
Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
This is perhaps the most crucial part of managing oral health for those with diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels within the recommended range can significantly reduce the risk of oral health problems related to diabetes.
Drinking plenty of water can help combat dry mouth associated with diabetes. Plus, water can also help wash away harmful sugars and food particles from your teeth, promoting oral health.
Smoking poses a great risk to oral health and can be even more damaging for people with diabetes. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, and other oral health problems.
A Deeper Dive into the Science
Studies have shown that diabetes affects various aspects of oral health because of its impact on the immune system and inflammatory responses. High glucose levels in the mouth fluids of people with diabetes facilitate the growth of bacteria, which cause tooth decay and gum diseases.
Moreover, diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums, diminishing the effectiveness of the natural defense mechanism of the oral tissues against bacterial infections. Diabetes also affects collagen synthesis, an essential process in repairing damaged tissues in the mouth.
Communicating with Your Dentist about Your Diabetes
It's important to have open and ongoing communication with your dentist about your diabetes. This includes informing them about your diagnosis, discussing any changes in medication, and reporting any unusual oral symptoms.
Sharing your HbA1c levels, which indicate your average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months, can also be very helpful. These insights will allow your dentist to provide the best possible care tailored to your specific needs.
In the fight against diabetes-related oral health problems, Brush Club is a strong ally. With high-quality, sustainable oral care products conveniently delivered every six months, Brush Club takes away one stressor in the quest for improved health. Remember, oral health is a crucial part of your overall health, and managing it well can significantly improve your quality of life.
Remember, your words matter! Share your thoughts in the comments below or ask any questions you have about oral care and diabetes. We love to hear from our Brush Club community! And if you haven't yet, consider making the switch to Brush Club for your dental care needs—because your health and our planet are worth it!
- "National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0783/1561/8626/t/2/assets/description_image_national_diabetes_statistics_report.pdf?v=1687731655
- "Oral Health and Diabetes." National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/diabetes/more-info