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How Does Diabetes Affect My Teeth and Gums?

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What exactly is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes is a long-term (chronic) disease characterised by elevated blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone generated in your body by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. Diabetes can thus be caused by insufficient insulin production, insulin resistance, or both.

To comprehend diabetes, one must first comprehend the usual mechanism by which food is broken down and utilised by the body for energy. When food is digested, several things occur:

Glucose, a sugar, is taken into the bloodstream. Glucose is a fuel source for our bodies. Insulin is currently produced by the body. This insulin’s function is to transport glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells, where it can be stored. Diabetics have high blood sugar because their bodies are unable to transport sugar into fat, liver, and muscle cells to be stored for energy.

What causes this to happen?

Their pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the bodily cells do not respond normally to insulin.

Both of the preceding scenarios are possible.

Diabetes is classified into three types:

Type 1 diabetes can strike at any age, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children, teenagers, and young adults. The body produces little or no insulin in this disease. Controlling this requires daily insulin shots. The precise cause is uncertain.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for the vast majority of diabetes cases. It is most commonly diagnosed in adults, however teens and young people are now being diagnosed as a result of rising obesity rates. Many persons with type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have it. The cells of the body demand higher insulin levels to rid the blood of sugar in this kind of Diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is defined as high blood sugar that occurs at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not already have diabetes.

Diabetes Complications:

Periodontitis is an infection of the teeth’s supporting tissues, such as the Alveolar bone, ligaments, and gingiva on top. Uncontrolled diabetics have a higher rate of gum infection, which leads to early tooth loss. The generation of advanced glycation end products is enhanced in uncontrolled diabetics. Because these prevent collagen from being reconstructed, the collagen tends to break down at the least infection, resulting in numerous abscesses in the gums.

Diabetic cardiomyopathy is cardiac disease caused by diabetes that leads to diastolic dysfunction and, finally, heart failure.

Diabetic nephropathy: kidney disease that can progress to chronic renal failure and necessitate dialysis. Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of adult kidney failure in the developed world.

Diabetic neuropathy is characterised by aberrant and diminished sensation, typically in a ‘glove and stocking’ distribution beginning with the feet but potentially extending to other nerves, most notably the fingers and hands. When this is combined with compromised blood arteries, it might result in a diabetic foot. Diabetic neuropathy can also manifest as mononeuritis or autonomic neuropathy. Diabetic amyotrophy is a type of muscular weakening caused by neuropathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is characterised by the formation of friable and poor-quality new blood vessels in the retina, as well as macular edoema (swelling of the macula), which can result in severe vision loss or blindness.

Is there a link between periodontal disease and diabetes?

Many of the almost 50 million Indians who have diabetes may be startled to find that periodontitis is an unanticipated consequence of this condition. According to research, those with diabetes have an increased prevalence of advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. The American Diabetic Association has added periodontitis to the list of other 5 established complications associated with diabetes, which include macrovascular disease such as heart disease, micro-vascular diseases, retinopathy, nephropathy (renal disease), and neuropathy.

Will I develop diabetes if I have gum disease, such as Periodontitis?

TNF-alpha levels are raised in the presence of gum disease/periodontitis, according to research. As the body’s ability to respond to insulin declines, the patient requires a greater dose of insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications to manage their rising blood sugar levels. According to research, once this gum disease is under control, the amount of medication necessary decreases.

Is it possible to have a two-way street?

Yes, there is a two-way association between serious gum disease and diabetes. Not only are diabetes more prone to significant gum disease, but serious gum disease has the ability to influence blood glucose management and contribute to the advancement of diabetes. According to research, people with diabetes are more likely to develop oral health issues such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). Diabetes puts people at a higher risk for significant gum disease because they are more sensitive to bacterial infection and have a reduced ability to fight bacteria that infiltrate the gums.

Every 6 months, diabetics should have their periodontal health evaluated by a periodontist.

Is Diabetes a Risk Factor for Dental Problems?

If you have poorly managed blood glucose levels, you are more likely to develop significant gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Serious gum disease, like all infections, may play a role in raising blood sugar levels. Thrush, an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth, which can cause pain, ulcers, infections, and cavities, are two more oral disorders connected with diabetes.

How Can I Aid in the Prevention of Diabetes-Related Dental Problems?

First and foremost, keep your blood glucose levels under control. Get your blood checked on a regular basis. Then, take proper care of your teeth and gums, as well as schedule regular six-month examinations.

Flossing every day helps to reduce plaque or tartar buildup, which leads to gum disease. It is important not to break the floss between the gums as this will cause damage to the underlying gums.

Brushing should be done twice a day, with care taken to reach all parts of the mouth, or you can ask your dentist to adjust your technique.

Some dental patients complain of extreme dryness, which can lead to caries and fungal infections; our professionals can recommend gels to help avoid such dryness.

To keep thrush, a fungal infection, under control, avoid smoking and, if you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily.

Should I Inform My Dentist About My Diabetes?

Diabetes patients, indeed, have unique requirements.

Please keep us updated on any changes to your condition and any medications you are taking. If your blood sugar is out of control, postpone any non-emergency dental procedures.

Hypoglycemia, caused by hypoglycemic drugs, is the most prevalent issue for diabetics in the dentist chair.

Please do not arrive for appointments on an empty stomach.

A glycated haemoglobin test is required before to any major dental appointment. This test measures blood sugar levels over a three-month period.

Diabetes can be defeated with proper care and awareness on the side of both the patient and the doctor.

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