The cyclic connection between oral health and diabetes

The mouth serves as an entry point to our entire body. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that oral health affects the overall health of a person. Several studies have shown that good oral hygiene translates to better overall health and poor oral hygiene can be accompanied by a wide variety of systemic diseases.

How does poor oral hygiene affect our overall health?

Recent studies reveal that several oral infections, especially, periodontitis can cause a number of systemic diseases. Some of the systemic diseases caused due to poor oral hygiene include Cardiovascular Diseases, Bacterial Pneumonia, Infective Endocarditis, Pregnancy and birth complications, Diabetes, etc.

How poor oral health can cause diabetes?

India is known to be the diabetic capital of the world. With over 50 million people suffering from diabetes, this makes India the country with the most number of people suffering from this chronic disease. But how does oral health influence the occurrence of diabetes? Diabetes is a condition where our body does not produce the required level of insulin. We all know that poor oral hygiene can cause cavities. And dental cavities are home to a wide variety of bacteria. These bacteria can cause inflammation in the gums and surrounding tissues. This inflammatory process is followed by an autoimmune response to control the inflammation. These bacteria can enter through small wounds or injuries and settle in different parts of our body. This active spreading of bacteria can trigger an immune response.

Whenever the immunity of our body is in a compromised state, our body triggers the immune system to fight infections and wade of bacteria. This repeated cycle can cause the body to develop insulin resistance and thereby diabetes can manifest.

How diabetes can affect our oral health? – The reverse is also true!

Several studies have shown that diabetic patients have a higher risk of having dental problems. Gingivitis is one of the most common oral health problems among diabetic patients. Bacteria feed on sugar or glucose and produce acids that damage our teeth. Diabetic patients tend to have higher sugar in your saliva which can promote the growth of bacteria. Bacteria combined with saliva and food particles in our mouth can cause plaque build-up which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Untreated gingivitis can progress into periodontitis. Dry mouth, Fungal yeast infection, Slow wound healing are some of the other problems that diabetic patients face.

How to control your diabetes and keep good oral hygiene at the same time?

  • Control your blood sugar levels by making your diet a balanced one.
  • Take the prescribed diabetic medications as per the doctor’s advice.
  • Keep yourself fit and active by indulging in physical exercises, yoga, etc.
  • Avoid smoking and drinking.
  • If you wear any type of dentures, make sure to clean it every day.
  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Get your teeth checked and cleaned regularly by the dentist.

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