Diabetes is a chronic inflammatory group of diseases that affects your body’s ability to process sugar. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to infections, so it is extremely important that you maintain good oral health through a combination of home care and professional dental visits.
There is some evidence that “acetone breath” might be an early sign of diabetes—your physician or dentist may notice this at a check-up.
If your child has Type 1 diabetes (diabetes mellitus) he or she is considered to be at higher risk for dental decay (cavities) than the general population. One possible reason for this is having to give sugar or juice for overnight glycemic (sugar) control and not cleaning your child’s teeth afterward.
One study found children with Type 1 Diabetes had higher plaque indexes and higher gingival indexes than children without diabetes. This may indicate that gum problems in diabetics begin at an earlier age than previously thought.
As you get older, gum problems are called gum disease or periodontal disease. (This is an example of being more likely to develop infections because periodontal disease is caused by bacterial toxins that inflame and irritate your gums.)
Gum disease can make it harder for you to control your blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled blood sugar increases your risk of complications such as heart issues or kidney problems. At the same time, your blood sugar levels and diabetes make it harder for your body to heal itself, making it harder for your gums to heal from the effects of gum disease.
You can learn more about how diabetes affects your mouth here:
The best way to avoid the problems of gum disease is to never develop them in the first place. Your dentist can help you with this by removing hard deposits that trap bacteria near your gums—deposits that you can’t remove with your toothbrush and dental floss. Some insurances allow an extra cleaning each year if you are diabetic—if so, you may want to take advantage of it and have the third one at regularly spaced intervals (usually every 4 months instead of every 6 months). Your dental office can check if this is the case for you and advise if you or your child would benefit from the extra cleaning. If you do not have a dentist, we invite you to join our office by calling 440-960-1940.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who sees children and adults at her office located at 1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. Phone: 440-960-1940