Did you know diabetes and oral health issues are often linked?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the whole body, including your mouth. Diabetes means you have a high blood sugar. A high blood sugar causes more sugar to be in the saliva. Sugary saliva helps bacteria grow and form plaques. Additionally, diabetes may cause a dry mouth, which means there is less total saliva. Dry mouth and bacteria buildup can cause gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss.
But it’s a two-way street. Chronic inflammation can occur with a poor oral hygiene routine. The inflammation can cause trouble with daily glucose management and cause A1C levels to increase.
Thankfully, a good oral hygiene routine and regular dental visits may help reduce the risks of oral health issues and help your glucose management.
What is good oral hygiene?
Good oral hygiene includes the following:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Cutting back on sugary foods and drinks (candy bars, soda, fruit juice, etc.)
- Cutting back on acidic foods and drinks (sodas, fruit juice, etc.)
It is also important to visit the dentist regularly. Regular check-ups allow your dentist to treat and prevent infections. Preventing and treating infections helps improve glucose management by lowering inflammation.
Adults and children with poor oral health are more likely to have long term complications related to diabetes, body-mass index, and other chronic diseases. These complications include, kidney damage and high blood pressure. Managing your A1C levels through better glucose control may prevent oral health issues in the future.
Taking care of your oral health can improve your overall health. If you have not seen your dentist in a while, reach out to and set up an appointment! Making small changes in your oral health now can help you avoid health complications, medical costs, and hospitalizations in the future.
For more information on the link between diabetes and oral health, join us for our Words or Wellness (W.O.W.) Wednesday event on April 28, 2021. Register here: diabetesatlanta.org/wednesday.