Ardent Care Dental

Diabetes & Dental Health

November is American Diabetes Month. According to the American Diabetes Association 12.8% of the adult population in Oregon have diabetes, which is around 435,000 people. Of these people, nearly 25% are unaware they have diabetes, greatly increasing their health risks. In addition, just over one in three Oregonians (36%) have prediabetes, meaning their blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is an expensive disease, both in dollar costs and in quality of life.

Signs of diabetes frequently show up in our mouths as a dry mouth, infections and/or poor healing of wounds. Diabetics are at greater risk of gum (periodontal) disease, a chronic infection of the bone and tissues that support our teeth. Diabetics are also more susceptible to fungal infections such as thrush and a dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay. Research indicates that the relationship between diabetes and gum disease is a two-way street, with untreated gum infection making blood sugar more difficult to control, and high blood sugar making gum disease more difficult to manage.

Other signs and symptoms of diabetes include increased hunger, thirst and urination, increased fatigue, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet and blurry vision. Genetics, age, and ethnicity all affect our risk levels. About 25% of seniors over age 65 are diabetic.

Diabetes affects many systems in our body and can cause problems with skin, eyes and our nervous system. It increases our risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. Although not all cases of diabetes can be prevented, the risk can be reduced by managing weight, quitting smoking and getting regular exercise. Choose a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean mets and lowfat dairy products.┬áIf you’re curious about your risk level, you can take the American Diabetes Asociation risk test for a closer look and talk with your health care provider about testing.

Tags: , ,

Can Our Diet Affect Our Gums?

It’s been no secret for years that our dietary habits can contribute to tooth decay. Some of the unfriendly bacteria that can live in our mouth will convert sugars, or carbohydrates, to acid. That acid is what attacks and weakens our tooth enamel.
How our diet affects the health of our gums has not been studied nearly as well, however that may be changing. In the April 2019 Journal of Clnical Periodontology, the results of a small yet interesting study were published that begins to explore this.
Half of a group of thirty people with gingivitis were randomly assigned to follow an “anti-inflammatory” diet, which included increased fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish. They minimized processed foods and animal proteins, and also took vitamin D supplements. The other half of the group continued their normal diet. Both groups brushed their teeth as normal, however did not use anything to clean between their teeth at the instructions of the researchers. At the end of the eight week study, the group following the anti-inflammatory diet had less bleeding and inflammation of their gums. They had also lost a little weight.
Gum disease as we understand it today, is the body’s inflammatory response to the plaque, or film of bacteria that lives on our teeth and gums. The byproducts produced by the plaque in our mouth as well as our immune system’s response to the plaque can destroy the bone and supporting tissues of our teeth. Gum disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and several other health conditions.
Like many chronic diseases, multiple factors can influence it’s progression, including genetics, habits and lifestyle. While this is a small study and the exact reasons for the reduced inflammation are not identified, I look forward to more research being conducted in this area to give us better recommendations for improving our dental and overall health.

Tags: , , ,

Our New Blog!

Our blog has recently been set up. Please check back soon!