Diabetes – The Effect on Teeth and Gums

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Types of Diabetes

The two main types of diabetes mellitus are designated type 1 and type 2, while the mechanisms that cause them differ that they’re both characterized by high blood glucose levels and if left untreated, they have similar long-term consequence. Gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy, resembles type 2 diabetes, however it usually disappears after the baby is delivered. 

Type 1 diabetes

This type of diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), is an autoimmune dosage. That means the body’s immune system turns inexplicably against its own cells, destroying them as if they were foreign invaders. It is sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes because it usually develops in children and adolescents, most often around puberty. It’s the most common serious chronic disorder in children and adolescents. Type 1 can also develop in adulthood, although this is uncommon. 
It’s also considered an inherited disease, so people with a family history of diabetes are at greatest risk. For instance, if you have an identical twin with type 1, you have a 50% chance of getting it as well. If you have a sibling with the disorder, your risk of developing it is 5%–10%; that’s 10 times the rate of someone without a diabetic sibling. White people of northern European heritage are more prone to type 1 than members of other racial and ethnic groups. 

Type 2 diabetes

 A combination of abnormalities is responsible for type 2 diabetes. The first is probably insulin resistance, a condition in which body cells become less responsive to insulin. Therefore, the body must secrete more insulin to maintain normal metabolism. Insulin resistance, which is very common, doesn’t cause type 2 diabetes by itself. The pancreas usually rallies to compensate for the resistance by pumping out more insulin. For most people with insulin resistance, blood sugar levels stay within a normal range. But for some, the insulin-producing cells eventually fail to keep up with the increased demand. Blood sugar levels rise, resulting in type 2 diabetes. 
Essentially, type 2 diabetes is a problem of supply and demand. The pancreas supplies too little insulin to keep up with the increased demand that occurs with insulin resistance. For this reason, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with therapies that decrease insulin demand including diet, exercise, drugs and with medications that increase insulin supply such as sulfonylurea or meglitinides or with insulin itself.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus occurs in about 135,000 U.S. women each year, usually around weeks 24–28 of pregnancy. Hormones produced by the placenta that hinder the action of the mother’s insulin probably trigger it. This disorder can result in babies who are larger than normal, and it puts the woman and her baby at greater risk for complications at the time of delivery. Diet, insulin therapy, or glucose-lowering medications are often needed to help control blood sugar levels. 

Complications of diabetes on teeth and gums.

Diabetes can lead to many complications, some of them very severe. This means that the effect that diabetes has on your teeth can often be completely overlooked. Diabetics are at a higher risk for periodontal disease (diseases of the mouth) than most people.

If you have high blood sugar that means that your teeth and gums are at high risk as germs multiply in high-sugar environments. The first step to protecting your teeth is to lower your blood sugar and to maintain a constant blood sugar level. The difficulty is that if you already have some gum disease, it can be another stress that leads to high blood sugar levels. This can be an overwhelming cycle, but luckily you can stop it. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It is present when your gums are puffy and red, and your gums can bleed when you brush your teeth or use other dental care. Gum disease, although little more than a painful inconvenience, can progress until you lose your teeth. This makes it even more difficult to maintain a healthy diet needed by diabetics.

  Taking care of your oral health:

  1. To monitor and control your blood sugar.
  2. You will also want to tell your dentist that you have diabetes. Your dentist will be able to help you notice the initial signs of gingivitis, which can be hard to distinguish. Visiting the dentist two times a year is a good idea.
  3. Oral hygiene, like we all know, begins with brushing your teeth regularly, particularly after sweet snacks and desserts. You can also take care of your mouth by watching what you put in your mouth: chewing sugar-free gum can also help reduce your risk of gum disease. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water, to maintain a healthy saliva flow in your mouth. Smoking is a bad habit that, among other diseases, will promote gum disease. Quit smoking immediately, because it has terrible effects on most diabetic complications.
  4. Of course, brushing our teeth is not quite enough. Flossing daily should become part of your routine. Some dentists recommend using a water-pick to clean your teeth as well. Ask your dentist about what would be best for you. Certain mouthwashes are clinically proven to help prevent gingivitis: the simple 10 second act of gargling could save your teeth for the future!

Remember: if you maintain a healthy diet, good oral hygiene, and helpful habits, you will save yourself time, money, and pain. You can have and keep the perfect smile!



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