Diabetes, or high blood sugar is an ever-growing disease in the UK. According to Diabetes UK, over 4.9 million Britishers have diabetes, a number that is expected to grow by 5.5 million by 2030. Apart from causing systemic symptoms and complications, high blood sugar can also affect one’s oral health significantly. That is why dentists and healthcare professionals suggest one should regularly check their blood sugar levels to maintain good physical and oral health.
But, how does diabetes or pre-diabetes affect one’s oral health? You might ask! This blog will answer this question and offer extensive information about the effect of high blood sugar on one’s oral health. So, read on!
How Can I Tell If I Have Pre-Diabetes?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pre-diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to consider one as diabetic. Some of the common symptoms of pre-diabetes include increased urination, weight loss, and tiredness. Apart from that, the best method to determine whether one suffers from pre-diabetes is to check the blood sugar levels, either through a laboratory or by using a handheld blood sugar monitor. If the values are consistently higher than normal, you may have pre-diabetes.
Is Gum Disease An Early Sign Of Pre-Diabetes?
Researchers have shown a two-way relationship between gum health and diabetes. First, high blood sugar is linked with a higher risk of gum inflammation and periodontal disease. At the same time, it has also been shown that patients with gum disease have poor diabetic control. A research study showed that periodontitis, or advanced gum disease may be an early indicator of diabetes. So, yes, pre-diabetes can exacerbate periodontal inflammation.
How To Prevent Gum Disease With Pre-Diabetes?
The best way to prevent gum disease – regardless of whether a patient suffers from pre-diabetes or not – is to ensure optimal oral hygiene. However, the importance of optimal oral hygiene becomes even more in the case of diabetic or pre-diabetic patients. During a routine checkup, if your dentist finds underlying signs of gum disease, they will perform professional teeth cleaning to remove the plaque and tartar deposits along with the harmful bacteria. You will also be asked to brush your teeth at least twice and floss at least once a day. Your dentist may also prescribe a medicated mouthwash or use other treatments to prevent bacterial growth and re-infection.
What Puts Us At Risk For Diabetes?
Diabetes is a multifactorial disease. Some of the factors that can put one at a higher risk of developing diabetes include:
- A carbohydrate-rich and sugary diet
- Genetic predisposition
- Ethnic predisposition
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High blood pressure
- Chronic gum disease
How Are Dental Treatment And Diabetes Related?
High blood sugars level can directly affect one’s oral health. For example, people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Similarly, wound healing is delayed after surgical procedures like implant placement or dental extractions. Finally, diabetes reduces the body’s immunity response. As a result, diabetic individuals are at a higher risk of developing medical or dental conditions than non-diabetic ones.
How Does Diabetes Affect The Dental Health Of A Person?
Chronic diabetes has a severe effect on one’s dental health. Some of these effects include:
- Poor Wound Healing – high blood sugar levels hamper wound healing. As a result, there is a higher risk of failure of surgical procedures in diabetic individuals.
- Decreased Immunity – diabetes also reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. That is why, people with diabetes are more prone to developing various medical and dental conditions.
- Poor Treatment Success – the risk of failure of dental procedures in diabetic individuals is higher than in healthy ones.
Can A Diabetic Person Get Teeth Extract?
It is not advisable for diabetic individuals to have their teeth extracted when they have high blood sugar levels. The correct practice is to inform your dentist before treatment that you have diabetes. Your dentist will first check your blood sugar levels. They may also ask you to do a blood test called HBA1C, which shows one’s diabetic control over the previous few months. Your dentist will only proceed with the tooth extraction if your blood sugar levels are within normal limits. Dental extractions are not performed on individuals with high blood sugar levels as it hampers healing and negatively affects treatment outcomes.
Can Mouthwash Give You Diabetes?
Many people think that mouthwashes are harmless. Rather they are good for our oral health. While that may be true, a recent research study has pointed out that using mouthwash at least once a day puts one at a higher risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes. The researchers state that mouthwashes, in addition to killing harmful bacteria, also neutralise the so-called “friendly bacteria”, which may put an individual at-risk of developing diabetes. However, the study also showed that mouthwash when used less than once a day did not increase the risk of diabetes. Further research is still needed to confirm these findings. Meanwhile, it is best to consult your dentist about whether it would be safe to use a mouthwash for your oral hygiene routine.
If you are loved one has diabetes, it is essential they visit their dentist regularly for checkups. This is because diabetics require more stringent oral hygiene care than non-diabetic ones. If you are looking for a renowned dental practice that caters for the safe and effective treatment of diabetic or pre-diabetic patients, Munroe Hall is your best option! We have a team of highly qualified dentists who will take good care of your oral health and smile. So, get in touch with us today and let us give you a healthy and lasting smile.
Last Updated: September 21, 2022