Diabetes And Your Oral Health

Diabetes Dearborn MIBy far, the most common autoimmune disease in America is diabetes. It affects over 29 million Americans to date, and that number is only growing. Also, the definition of diabetes is expanding as well, growing the number of new diabetics further.

The smallest blood vessels in the body, the capillaries, are highly fragile structures. These are affected the most by high blood sugar. When damaged, your fresh, oxygenated blood is unable to reach the further areas, away from the heart.

It’s important to take special care in your oral health regimen if you have diabetes. Today, your Livonia, MI dentist discusses how you might be able to avoid significant dental woes through daily care.

Saliva Can Become Sweet

Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, can become an issue for the body in many different ways. One method that is often overlooked is how the body increases the glucose within our own saliva!

When blood sugars elevate, organs like the kidney and liver work to process out the excess glucose through our liquid secretions. Our concentrated sugar is pushed out through our sweat, urine, and even our own spit.

While this may help to clear the blood of excess glucose, it leaves the mouth vulnerable. The saliva becomes full of sugar, like you’ve been drinking a soda. But no amount of brushing can fully help while the numbers stay elevated.

Dehydration And Dry Mouth

Alongside salivary secretions, dehydration and dry mouth can become issues for diabetic mouths. Our saliva is full of antibacterial enzymes and properties that protect our mouth. Without that protection, our mouth becomes a very vulnerable area to infection.

Gum disease, known as periodontal disease, is also much more common in diabetic patients than in fully healthy ones. This leads to gum recession to the point where the tooth’s root is exposed. Without the protection of the gum tissue, the tooth is at risk of developing an infection inside the bone and tooth.

Because of this and other risks, 20% of all lost teeth are a direct result of diabetes. That’s 1 in every 5th adult tooth lost.

Let’s Prevent!

As with a fully healthy individual, diabetics must keep up a stringent oral health routine. This starts with twice daily tooth brushing with a suitable fluoride toothpaste. Daily flossing and an oral rinse is also very helpful in maintaining your smile. 

The biggest help in keeping a diabetic smile intact is by monitoring your blood sugar levels. Appropriate management of diabetes can minimize all the risks associated, and is your best course of action, as a rule. Those with highly regulated glucose levels see very little elevation in their risks.


James Stewart, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, MI, as well as Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Garden City, Westland, Redford, and the surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.