DIABETES AUSTRALIA estimates that around 1.7 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes (whether it be type 1, type 2, or gestational). At least another 500,000 remain undiagnosed, and that doesn’t include the additional thousands who are considered pre-diabetic. But what does diabetes have to do with oral health? Unfortunately, quite a lot.
Diabetes And Gum Disease
Diabetes is a chronic disease that either means the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin (type 1) or that the body doesn’t use it effectively (type 2 and gestational), both of which cause elevated blood glucose. The most serious impact elevated blood glucose has on oral health is that it simultaneously weakens the immune system and provides more food for the bacteria that attack teeth and gums.
This two-pronged attack is why 22% of diabetics also have gum disease, whether in the early stages of inflammation (gingivitis) or in the advanced stages (periodontitis) that threaten the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. The bacteria that causes gum disease can also travel through the bloodstream and make it even harder to regulate blood sugar.
In addition to increasing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis, uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to a variety of other oral health problems, such as:
•Burning mouth syndrome
•Impaired or slower healing
•Increased severity and frequency of infections
•Salivary gland enlargement
Periodontal disease can also affect Orthodontic Treatment
Many patients with diabetes need orthodontic treatment. When bone is lost surrounding teeth, often these teeth move into undesirable positions. Bone loss in the presence of inflammation, as found in periodontitis, can result in unpredictable tooth movement during orthodontic treatment.
What You Can Do
Now for the good news: even with diabetes, good oral health is within reach. Even better: keeping your teeth and gums healthy will also make the diabetes easier to manage! Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, floss daily or use a water flosser or interdental brush, use a non-alcoholic mouthwash, and don’t smoke. Carefully regulating your sugar intake is a major factor as well.
The Dentist’s Role
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the standard two dental exams per year may not be enough. To stay on the safe side, we recommend that you increase the number of yearly visits to three or four. It is also crucial for us to know how you and your doctor are working together to get it under control. Likewise, your doctor needs to know how we are working with you to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Oral hygiene maintenance and a beautiful white straight teeth will help you prevent the danger of diabetes associated periodontal disease. Let your periodontist and orthodontist help you achieve a beautiful smile.
To learn more about Adult Orthodontics call Braces 4U 4840 2832 or visit www.braces4u.com.au