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Friday, June 3, 2011

Dental Complications Of Diabetes

By Owen Jones

Diabetes can have different adverse effects on sufferers' health and one of those ill-effects is dental quality. Diabetics have a problem dealing with sugars, which often leads to a condition called hyperglycemia, which means that there is too much sugar in the blood. The converse of having too much sugar in your blood is having too little and that is known as hypoglycemia.

Both conditions are governed in healthy people by insulin and herein lies the diabetic's problem - the body's automatic manufacture of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Both conditions can have serious consequences. Too much sugar in the blood can lead to problems with the kidneys, the heart, the eyes and others, while too little sugar in the blood can cause fits and black-outs.

Tooth and gum disease is natural as are any other health issues. Factors that play a role in tooth and gum disease are age, heredity, smoking and oral hygiene, but the diabetic who is often hyperglycemic has a higher chance of developing dental disease.

The diabetic is more susceptible to infection of any kind and one of the most common is periodontitis, which affects the teeth, the jaw bones and the gums. One of the visible symptoms of periodontitis is receding gums, which makes the teeth look unusually large, but also exposes the roots of the teeth to the air and food, causing sensitive teeth. Therefore, diabetics must ensure that they make a special effort to visit their dentist at least twice a year. Periodontitis can cause the complete loss of one's teeth.

The extra sugar in the blood provides extra food for germs, so they reproduce much more quickly than normal. This rapid build up of bacteria causes red, swollen gums. One of the first signs of gum disease is often bleeding. If your gums begin to bleed when you brush your teeth, make an early appointment with your dentist.

Diabetics, along with those who have an impaired immune system, run a much greater risk of contracting periodontitis and so losing all their teeth, if it is left untreated.

Diabetics with periodontitis are not condemned to lose all their teeth, but it does have to be noticed and treated early because there are several ways that a dentist can deal with the disease.

One of the best means is to manage your blood sugar levels in the first instance. This has to be achieved in conjunction with your doctor, but it will usually include correct dieting, exercise and taking insulin or a surrogate. Not smoking and maintaining your correct weight are also important.

Not all diabetics need to take insulin. There is far more understood about diabetes, diet, exercise and their interaction these days. Some diabetics can circumvent taking insulin and all the side effects that that would normally involve by not eating sugary or starchy food, by eating low-calorie meals often during the day instead of at two or three large meals and by monitoring blood-sugar levels.

This is the best way of avoiding the dental difficulties that diabetics can experience.

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