How Diabetes and Oral Health are Connected

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How Diabetes and Oral Health are Connected


In America, diabetes is incredibly common. Each year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. While many people know that diabetes has to do with blood sugar, people don’t often know the oral health connection. Read on to learn about how your oral health can be affected by diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects the way your body turns food into energy. The CDC explains that most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar and released into the bloodstream. When your blood sugar rises, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

People who have diabetes either don’t make enough insulin, or can’t use the insulin the body makes as well as it should. When there is not enough insulin, or when cells stop responding to the insulin, too much blood sugar stays in the bloodstream. As time passes, this can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. 

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes, according to the CDC:

  • Type 1: this type is thought to be due to an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks itself by mistake. This stops your body from making insulin. Up to 10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of this type often develop rapidly, and is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. To survive, these patients must take insulin every day. 
  • Type 2: this type is when your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. With this type, you may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. Additionally, this type can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes by eating healthier and being more active. 
  • Gestational: this type develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have this type, your baby could be at risk for health problems. It usually goes away once you deliver your baby, but afterwards your chances do increase for developing type 2 later on in life. Additionally, that same risk stands for your baby, too. 

Diabetes and Oral Health

While many people know the connection between this health issue and how it can harm things like the eyes, nerves, heart, and other systems of the body, it can also affect the health of your mouth. People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum disease, bad breath, difficulty chewing, and even tooth loss. Further, diabetes can slow down healing, so it can also interfere with treatment of all of these problems, too. 

Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is what happens when food and plaque get trapped in the gumline and cause an infection. Plaque, a sticky, thin film of bacteria is constantly forming on your teeth. Over time, if it’s not cleaned properly it can become tartar and an infection can develop right below the gumline. Gum disease can range from a mild form, known as gingivitis, to a severe form known as periodontitis. 

Signs of Gum Disease 

Most people don’t know in the beginning that they have gum disease. However, over time, as the infection gets worse, the following symptoms can occur:

  • Gums that are red, tender, or swollen 
  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss your teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite down
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Partial dentures that no longer fit correctly
  • Bad breath that won’t go away, even after brushing your teeth 

Since many people don’t know they have gum disease until uncomfortable symptoms are present, that’s why it’s recommended that you always make time for your regular dental checkups. 

Regular Checkups 

Dental checkups are typically done every six months, however, if you have diabetes, they may need to be done more frequently. Since you’re at a higher risk for developing oral health issues, Dr. Robert Berry will want to make sure that your mouth is staying healthy and no problems are forming on a more frequent basis than otherwise healthy patients. A checkup includes a routine cleaning and dental exam, but sometimes additional procedures may need to be done depending on the current health of your smile. 

Make an Appointment with Mountain Aire Dentistry 

If you have diabetes, don’t put off your regular trips to the dentist. We want to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy, so make an appointment with us today. Conveniently located in Broomfield, Mountain Aire Dentistry is here for you! 

291 E Flatiron Crossing Dr,
Broomfield, CO 80021

(303) 731-7755


When you visit our Broomfield dental office, your smile is our top priority. Our Dentists invite you to experience the difference a warm and caring team can provide for you and your family. Enjoy a unique and comfortable dental experience designed to bring a healthier and happier smile back into your life. We invite you to call or visit our Broomfield dental office and discover the exceptional difference we offer to those we serve.

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