Diabetes and Oral Health

gresham dentist

Concerned about how diabetes can influence your oral health? Gresham dentist, Dr. Jeremy Archibald, understands that healthy gums and teeth are an important aspect of a healthy body. This is especially true for patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Regular professional dental care will positively improve your health, especially if you are managing diabetes. 

Healthy Mouth, Healthier Body 

When you have diabetes, taking care of your teeth is especially important. Oral health affects the rest of your body, and vice versa.

As you probably know, diabetes occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. Elevated glucose levels can have a negative effect throughout your system, including the mouth. 

Epidemiological data confirms that diabetes is a major risk factor for periodontitis (gum disease affecting your gum/tooth interface); susceptibility to periodontitis is increased by approximately threefold in people with diabetes. There is a clear relationship between degree of hyperglycemia and severity of periodontitis. 

Elevated glucose levels, common with diabetes, can prevent nutrients and oxygen from providing energy to cells, inhibit your immune cells from functioning efficiently and increase levels of inflammation in the various organ cells, including the gums and bone in our mouth. 

Diabetes can cause you to produce less saliva, or saliva with more sugar. Saliva has several important roles. It washes away pieces of food, helps us to swallow, keeps unhealthy bacteria from growing, fights acids produced by bacteria, and even contains minerals that help protect against tooth decay. Decreased salivary flow often means a higher risk for cavities, gum disease, and other problems. 

Untreated, diabetes can cause some serious oral health problems like: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Higher risk of cavities 
  • Inflamed gums and bone (gingivitis & periodontal disease) 
  • Problems tasting food 
  • Slower wound healing in the mouth 
  • More likely to get infections in the mouth 
  • Tooth loss 

Dr. Jeremy Archibald and his team can help you take steps and develop a plan to improve the health of your teeth and gums. Treating gum disease, by reducing inflammation, will improve your ability to manage your glucose levels over time. 

Making Your Action Plan

Tell your dentist if you have diabetes. Dr. Jeremy Archibald, your Gresham dentist, will help you with any concerns and let you know what steps you should take to improve your oral health. Your plan for self-care at home, together with professional care from your dentist, work together to help keep your teeth and gums healthy for years to come. Part of this plan may include a special mouth rinse, removal of plaque and tartar under the gums and increased frequency of professional cleaning visits to help maintain gum health. 

Regularly managing your blood sugar levels, with a healthy diet, exercise, medication and the recommendations of your physician will lead to an improved quality of life and reduce your risks for significant diabetic related systemic health concerns. 

What You Can Do Now 

Here’s what you can do now and between trips to your Gresham dental practice: 

  • Floss daily to support gum health. 
  • Brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking produces worse outcomes for both gum disease and diabetes. 
  • If you have any type of dentures, keep them clean too. 
  • Use any diabetes medication as directed. 
  • Make an appointment with your Gresham dentist if your gums are red, swollen, or bleeding easily. Same for dry mouth, loose teeth, or any oral pain. 

Schedule Your Visit Today 

Dr. Jeremy Archibald understands what a healthy, attractive smile means to you. Let’s work together to keep your mouth healthy with a care plan suited to your medical needs. Contact our office today to schedule a visit with Dr. Archibald so you can keep that smile (and the rest of your body!) healthy for years to come.