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The Major Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

the major link between diabetes and oral health

When it comes to oral health, most of us make a very serious mistake. We view the health of our mouth and the health of our body as two completely separate entities. But the truth is that oral health and overall physical health are directly intertwined.


This means that poor dental health doesn’t only damage your smile. It’s also linked to type 2 diabetes, a dangerous condition caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. Know more below how Diabetes Hurt Dental Health.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that develops when your body can’t properly carry sugar molecules out of your blood and into your cells. The sugar accumulates in your blood and causes blood sugar levels to spike. 


Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is very important in the right amounts. It’s transported by insulin to deliver energy to the trillions of cells throughout your body. But that doesn’t mean that high blood sugar delivers extra energy. Far from it! 


Chronically high blood sugar levels dim your body’s response to insulin. Insulin resistance is a dangerous condition that causes type 2 diabetes and the many complications associated with it. 


The most common symptoms of diabetes are hard to ignore:

  • Frequent urination
  • Vision problems
  • Numbness in the hands and feet


If diabetes continues uncontrolled and untreated, serious health complications can arise, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. 


Unfortunately, significant long-term damage can also occur in the mouth. 

Why Does Diabetes Hurt Dental Health?

The high blood sugar levels caused by uncontrolled diabetes actually weaken your body’s white blood cells. All white blood cells are meant to serve as your system’s main defense against bacterial infections. That includes bacterial infections in your mouth!


If you suffer from untreated or chronic diabetes, you quickly become more prone to cavities, decay, gingivitis, dry mouth, and thrush. Only long-term diabetes treatment and a diligent oral care routine can prevent the most severe effects:

  • Tooth loss
  • Widespread infection
  • Bone erosion
  • Gum disease

Do You Already Have Gum Disease?

Diabetes doesn’t destroy your mouth overnight. It’s a gradual effect, just like the development of diabetes itself. Bad bacteria start to overpower productive bacteria, plaque and tartar accumulate in the crevices of your teeth, and inflammation along your gum line becomes more aggressive. 


Eventually, the negative effects of diabetes morph into the two stages of gum disease known as gingivitis and periodontitis


As the first stage in the progression of gum disease, gingivitis is very common. The CDC estimates that nearly 50% of all American adults have some form of gum disease. That’s 65 million people! However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean gingivitis is acceptable.


Periodontitis isn’t nearly as reversible and easy to treat at gingivitis. Plaque starts to grow below the gum line and produce toxins that stimulate a chronic inflammatory response within your body. This chronic inflammatory response tells the body to attack itself and break down the tissues and bones that support the structure of your mouth. 


As a result, untreated diabetes creates the conditions for periodontitis to wreak havoc in your mouth:

  • The gums separate from the teeth
  • Open gum pockets quickly become dangerously infected
  • Gum tissue and bone deteriorate
  • Teeth become loose and fall out


If you believe you have the early or later stages of gum disease, visiting your dentist should be your first priority as diabetes hurt dental health . 

How To Naturally Control Your Diabetes

There’s no denying the dangers of high blood sugar, but the good news is that you can take control of your diabetes using natural, non-pharmaceutical solutions. Consider these tips to bring your blood sugar back within a safe range and safeguard your smile. 

Cut Your Carbs

Heavy carbohydrate intake spikes your blood sugar and forces more insulin into your system. This leads to insulin resistance as your body adapts to the excessive flow of insulin attempting to process and transport your high blood sugar. 


One of the best ways to lower your blood sugar is to cut your carb intake down to 50 grams a day or less. Stick to this low carb plan over a few months to help your system become more sensitive to insulin. Improved insulin sensitivity supports a normalized blood sugar cycle and reduces unpleasant blood sugar spikes. 

Improve Lifestyle Habits

Adopt healthier lifestyle habits to support optimal blood sugar results. Exercise regularly, drink at least 8 cups of water a day, and find effective stress management techniques. In addition to improving your overall quality of life and decreasing your risk of disease, better exercise, hydration, and relaxation techniques will make it easier to manage your eating choices and sustain balanced blood sugar levels. 

Choose Foods That Help Lower Blood Sugar

Many of the best foods known to combat diabetes are also teeth-friendly foods. Chromium and magnesium, for example, nourish strong teeth and assist insulin regulation and improve insulin sensitivity. 


The following delicious foods can take a powerful stand against diabetes, gum disease, and other related problems:

  • Avocado
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Spinach and broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Bananas
  • Legumes
  • Brown rice
  • Tomatoes
  • Brewer’s yeast


Other foods that don’t contain magnesium and chromium can still help to lower blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and balancing out the nutrients in your body:

  • Lean meats
  • Coffee
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish
  • Apple cider vinegar


Stock up on these healthy, tasty options to naturally recalibrate your blood sugar and protect your smile from irreversible damage as diabetes hurt Dental Health . 


Your dentist can also help you! The team at North Brand Dental, led by Dr. Anna Acopian and Dr. Rodrick Ghadimi, is dedicated to providing gentle, personalized dental care to patients throughout Glendale, CA. Call (818) 244-7215 now to schedule your first appointment and stop your diabetes before it has the chance to destroy your smile. 

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