The Dangerous Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Here is an alarming fact to consider: Did you know that nearly 30 million people, roughly 9.5 percent of the population, in the US have diabetes and close to 2 million more cases add to that every year? And many of which belong to people who are unaware they have the disease.

The food we eat is transformed to sugar and used to provide energy. Diabetes inhibits the body’s natural ability to process that sugar, resulting in high blood sugar which leads to all kinds of issues with kidneys, heart, eyes, nervous system, and other troubles. With Type I diabetes, the body cannot creat enough insulin to carry sugar from our blood to cells that need sugar. Type II diabetes prevents the body from responding to insulin at all.

What does all that have to do with oral health? Let’s take a closer look at the dangerous effects of diabetes on the state of Port Arthur and Beaumont patients’ teeth and gums.

Diabetes Symptoms and Their Effect

Diabetes can affect every part of your body, including high blood sugar, consistently thirsty, frequent urination, weight loss and fatigue. Left unchecked, diabetes can cause serious damage to your personal oral environment. If you notice any of the following, schedule a doctor visit right away:

  • A dry mouth and noticeably less saliva.
  • Inflamed and/or bleeding gums from gingivitis.
  • Higher risk of cavities.
  • Risk of bacterial or fungal Infections in the mouth.
  • Difficulty tasting food.
  • Children with diabetes may experience tooth eruption much earlier than usual.

The Gum Disease Side Effect

Every one of us has billions of microscopic bacteria living in our mouths and if they decide to settle in to our gums, it can lead to periodontal disease; an inflammatory condition that destroys, gums, support tissue for teeth, and surrounding bones. Twenty-two percent of Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Port Arthur patients with diabetes contract periodontal disease due in large part to lack of blood sugar control.

A serious gum disease infection can cause a rise in blood sugar and, making diabetes and other infections more difficult to control, most commonly plaque formation from sugary and starchy foods. These are concerning situations but specific steps are available to address them.

A Corpus Christi Strategy for Diabetes-Related Dental Health

It all starts with teamwork. Match diligent home oral health care with your dentist’s professional touch to keep a bright, shiny smile and help keep diabetes at bay.

Keep your blood sugar levels in control, using proper medications, switch to a healthy diet, and get plenty of exercise. For Corpus Christi, Beaumont, and Port Arthur area patients, a generous bonus to controlled blood sugar is stronger defense against infections in the mouth. If you wear dentures, be sure to clean them every day. If you smoke; quit.

Never let up on brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, flossing every day, and getting twice a year dental checkups.

For more assistance with questions on diabetes and oral health, contact La Costa Dental at (361) 853-8000 or