Your Mouth, Your Body – Diabetes

Have you battled cavity after cavity since you can remember when?

Do you get cavities between dental visits and you are making an effort to brush and floss? (Ok, I know that flossing is unlikely, but I have to ask!)

Does your breath knock down people two doors over and your gums bleed like Niagara Falls when touched?

Is your mouth always dry?

Perhaps you are diabetic, since everything mentioned above is an oral sign and complication of diabetes. Our diabetic patients will admit that when they are educated about their disease, the mouth is usually absent from the discussion. This is unfortunate since the mouth is a primary site of immune system activity on a minute –to-minute basis. This takes energy and metabolic resources to keep the hundreds of species of bacteria that live in the mouth from causing harm.

If the body is thought of as a computer, then there are numerous background programs operating. If you are connected to the Web, then you must have antivirus and malware programs (immune system) operating to protect your system. Even then, you may notice the machine slowing down or not operating as it should. The likelihood is that a virus has infected the machine in spite of your precautions. This then requires more system resources and ultimately the system may crash.

Diabetes is similar. When blood sugar is out of control, oral bacteria have an opportunity to cause havoc. They invade the gums and the rest of the body. This may cause infections distant from the mouth; certainly in the mouth (cavities and periodontitis) and leads to more serious issues.

Dentistry has known for centuries about the relationship between gum disease and diabetes. Controlling one will help control the other and vice versa.

Regularly visiting your dentist is a good idea, but a necessity if you are diabetic!

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