Gum Disease to Glucose Levels: The Unexpected Link of Oral Health and Diabetes

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Canada’s epidemiological data indicates the prevalence of diabetes. In 2015, approximately 3.4 million Canadians (constituting 9.3% of the population) were diagnosed with diabetes, with an additional 2 million diabetes cases reported in 2022.  Maple Ridge residents with poorly controlled blood sugar are at higher risk of experiencing oral health issues, like gum diseases. They’re also more likely to face diabetic emergencies during an oral surgery or a dental procedure. This calls for the “best dentists near me” to apply specialized dental services when treating diabetic family members.   Several studies investigated the connection between diabetes and oral health.  So, what do the studies suggest? How do dental professionals provide quality dental care? What dental services or treatment options should be provided?  Let’s find out in this blog. 

Oral Health and Diabetes Overview

Oral issues, like oral cancer, tooth decay, gingivitis, and halitosis, are common and have a big impact on our well-being and overall health. The World Health Organization says about half of the world’s people have oral health problems, with cavities and severe gum disease being the most widespread. Things like not doing routine checkups and teeth cleaning, smoking, and having diabetes can make them worse. Diabetes, specifically Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), is a chronic health condition that can lead to oral issues that impact dental care. Research shows that diabetes and oral health problems often go hand in hand, and diabetes can come before gum disease. People with diabetes also tend to have more issues like cavities, gum disease, losing teeth, and not feeling great about their oral health.

So, How These Two Relate? 

To understand how oral health connects to diabetes, we need to look at the basic signs of oral health. Dental cavities, besides causing plaque buildup, create a welcoming environment for bacteria to proliferate and cause gum inflammation, which is especially important to consider in metabolic disorders like diabetes. As periodontal disease progresses, it shows clear signs like bleeding gums and loose teeth. Bleeding gums is an early sign of gum disease and an important clue for Maple Ridge dentists to spot ongoing gum problems. 

Oral Health’s Role in Diabetes Risk

Based on a Hungarian Study of oral health and diabetes, here’s how the two cases impact one another: 
Impact of Diabetes on Gums High blood sugar weakens the body’s ability to fight infection in the gums, leading to worse gum disease.
Untreated gum disease increases the risk of complications from diabetes, like heart disease.
Impact of Gum Disease on Diabetes Gum disease can result in inflammation throughout the body, which makes it harder to control blood sugar levels in diabetes.

How the Study Come Up With The Result

  • Research Design: This study used data from both the 2014 and 2019 EHIS surveys. 
  • Data Collection: The combined EHIS databases from 2014 and 2019 included data from 11,429 participants. However, the final datasets had 5,603 participants for 2019 and 5,826 for 2014, resulting in response rates of around 47% and 55%, respectively.
  • Results: People who felt they had poor oral health were more likely to have diabetes. Having filled teeth seemed to lower the risk of diabetes, suggesting some protection. However, other factors like losing teeth, having undergone cosmetic dental services (dental implants), frequent dental visits and routine dental cleanings, and symptoms like bleeding gums, loose teeth, and cavities need further investigation. 

Type 2 Diabetes and its Association With Poor Oral Health

Another study from the BMC Oral Health focused on many aspects of this connection, seeing how T2D status, age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis, and treatment relate to different oral diseases.
  • Method: They examined information from the E3N cohort study, which included 60,590 women. Using special diabetes questionnaires and databases that track diabetes medication, they found cases of T2D. 
  • Results: The average age of the women was 70 years old, with a standard deviation of 7.2 years. About 4.7% of them, which is 2857 women, had Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). Compared to those without T2D, women with T2D were more likely to say they had poor oral health. Among women with T2D, those who were diagnosed at a younger age were less likely to report poor mouth health, while those who had T2D for a longer time were more likely to report poor oral health.
This study fills a gap in current research by demonstrating a link between diabetes and oral diseases, regardless of how often people brush their teeth or if they see a dentist regularly. The studies conclude that the length of time someone has had diabetes and the age they were when diagnosed are connected to:
  • Wearing dental prostheses
  • Difficulties with biting and chewing
  • Periodontitis and gingivitis 
The type of treatment a person receives for diabetes, which gives insight into the severity of the condition, also relates to mouth health, except for inflammatory dental diseases. With diabetes becoming more common, findings highlight the importance of specific preventive measures to protect mouth health in this high-risk group.

Dental Care Complications and Manifestations

According to a Canadian Dental Association report, scientific studies have linked diabetes to various oral issues. Good control of blood sugar levels seems to reduce the risk and severity of these oral problems. Therefore, more dentists must educate patients about managing diabetes and how it can affect their oral health. See how blood sugar control impacts oral health in T2D below:
Oral Complications Prevalence in Controlled T2D 
Taste Disturbance 28%
Halitosis  52%
Candidiasis  28%
Burning Mouth Sensation 32%
Salivary Gland Dysfunction 68%
Periodontitis 32%

Quality Dental Care Considerations (For Diabetic Patients)

To keep diabetic patients’ happy smile and safety during dental services, dentists or dental surgeons need to provide personalized dental care and follow specific guidelines to prevent emergencies and reduce the risk of oral problems caused by diabetes.
  • Talk to the patient’s doctor to check their diabetes control. 
  • Review medical history and medications at each dental office visit. 
  • Ensure the patient has eaten and taken their medications before starting dental treatments. 
  • Emergeny dentist must be ready to handle low blood sugar levels. 
  • A dental health professional providing patients preventive care to keep their mouth and teeth clean
  • Check blood sugar levels with a glucometer if the patient is at high risk, uses insulin, or has surgery.

Recommended Dental Services for Optimal Oral Health

Cosmetic Dentistry Services 

Cosmetic dental services from a trusted Maple Ridge dental office are beneficial for keeping dental health well. Some of the cosmetic dentistry treatments performed by dental staff include: 
  • Dental bonding
  • Teeth whitening
  • Porcelain veneers
  • BOTOX treatment
  • Dental Crowns

General Dental Services

Not caring for your mouth can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and even dental surgery. But with good dental care, you can keep your mouth healthy and prevent these problems. That’s where general dentistry helps, and some of the comprehensive dental care services include:
  • Root canals treatment
  • Dental cleaning
  • Composite fillings
  • White for Life Program
  • Other personalized treatment plans

Specialty Dentistry 

Specialty dentistry is specialized dental care focusing on old and new patients’ specific needs. Performed by Maple Ridge dentists with a specialty dentistry degree, it involves sedation dentistry that offers the following: 
  • Intravenous (IV) Sedation
  • Inhalation Sedation

Family Dentistry Services 

A family dental clinic, like Westgate Dental Centre in Maple Ridge, BC, offers a complete range of dental services for the entire family. Some of the family dental services include:
  • Personalized dental care
  • Restorative treatments (full mouth restoration)
  • Cosmetic and general dentistry services 
  • Orthodontic Services
  • Endodontic Services
  • Periodontal Services
  • Dental Surgery
dental office near me

Opt for the Best Dentist For Personalized Care

The relationship between dental health and diabetes is profound and multifaceted. Not only does diabetes increase the risk of oral problems, such as gum disease and tooth decay, but poor dental health can also exacerbate diabetes complications. Through comprehensive dental care and regular checkups, Maple Ridge dentists can help manage these conditions and promote overall well-being.  The research findings highlight the importance of integrating diabetes management into dental practice and prioritizing preventive measures. By addressing oral health concerns proactively and collaboratively with old or new patients and dentists, we can keep healthier smiles in the Maple Ridge community.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Continuous discharge (pus) from the gums
  • Gums that are red, swollen, tender, or bleed easily
  • Gums that pull away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad taste or bad breath
  • Loose teeth, which may alter your bite sensation or denture fit
  • Gaps appearing between your teeth

Schedule an immediate appointment in a dental clinic with the best dentist in Maple Ridge if you observe any indications of gum disease.  

While following a nutritious diet and staying a physically active member of the community are crucial steps in preventing diabetes, maintaining good oral hygiene can also reduce your risk. Visit your local dentist regularly to help you identify potential signs of diabetes.

Gum disease, characterized by gum inflammation, can increase inflammation throughout the body. It can potentially raise blood glucose levels, which elevates the risk of diabetes. Regular brushing and flossing of your teeth serve as effective measures to prevent gum disease and reduce inflammation.

It’s recommended that individuals with diabetes maintain regular dental clinic visits. According to the Canadian Dental Association, people with diabetes should schedule dental appointments twice a year. Those with diabetes need to inform their dentist (especially a new dentist) about their condition and provide details about any related issues, medications, and the duration of their diabetes.

If someone experiences oral symptoms like swollen or bleeding gums, contact your family dentist promptly, which may indicate underlying issues.

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