Diabetes and Dentistry
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels. Specifically, this is due to the lack of the hormone insulin, which helps the body cells absorb glucose (sugar). There are two variations of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition preventing the production of insulin. It has a sudden onset, and patients are usually in the normal range of BMI. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic progressive condition where insulin production diminishes significantly, yet not entirely. Those with type 2 diabetes tend to be heavier or obese.
Although there is no precise cause of this disease, genetic predisposition and behavioral aspects such as diet and exercise are large determining factors.
Diabetes may have ongoing oral health implications, so if you receive a diagnosis before your next appointment, please let us know to update your health history.
Oral concerns when you have diabetes.
One of the side effects of the condition is dehydration. And, as such, directly contributes to dry mouth (xerostomia). In turn, dry mouth can lead to other oral health problems such as increased cavities and periodontal disease. If we notice any early warning signs during a check-up, you can be sure that we will bring it to your attention.
Symptoms include bouts of extreme hunger and fatigue. Because your body cannot absorb glucose, cells are not getting the energy they require. Increased urination is also typical because the kidneys filter the excess glucose not absorbed by your body. When there is more glucose than the kidneys can handle, the body creates more urine. (This is also what leads to dehydration mentioned above.) Other symptoms include blurred vision, yeast infections, slow healing sores, pain or numbness in the feet, and unexpected weight loss or weight gain.