Last week, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council issued its latest report on the progress of health in the nation in comparison with the 2008 National Health Agreement.
Unfortunately, the news isn’t very good. Nearly two-thirds of Australians (63%) are overweight or obese, according to the report. The report notes that as a result diabetes is on the rise in the country, and will continue to go up as a result of increasing obesity rates.
One of the serious concerns about diabetes is that it can increase your risk of gum disease and eventual loss of teeth. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s time to talk to your dentist right away and find out what is the current state of your smile.
How Diabetes Increases Dental Risk
Diabetes is a systemic illness with impacts on every part of your body. It has many potential impacts on your oral health that overall increase your risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss.
One way that diabetes increases your risk is by decreasing your saliva flow. Saliva is your body’s first line of defense against oral bacteria. It’s toxic to them and it helps to regulate acidity in your mouth. Without saliva, oral bacteria are more likely to thrive, resulting in increased risk of cavities and gum disease.
Diabetes also affects blood flow in your body, which means that your gums are resource-starved, which can make it harder for your body to fight infections such as gum disease. To make it worse, your white blood cells are also impaired by diabetes.
Limited blood also makes it harder for them to heal up from damage they may suffer from bacteria, which means that you can suffer worse damage from the same level of infection.
Diabetes may also impact how you eat. Eating more smaller meals throughout the day might be good for your diabetes, but it can put your teeth and gums at risk.
But a diabetes diagnosis isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your teeth. With proper care, you can still keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime. Here are some tips:
- Keep your blood sugar under control. Effects of diabetes are lessened if it’s controlled.
- See your dentist right away to find out if diabetes is affecting your oral health.
- Make regular teeth cleaning and oral hygiene visits, at least twice a year and more if your dentist recommends it.
- Brush and floss your teeth as recommended. Your dentist may recommend that you brush after every time you eat, but make sure this is what your dentist wants for you–sometimes this can lead to tooth erosion.
Unfortunately, the COAG report also said that about 20% of Australians aren’t going to the dentist these days, often because of the expense. (Although going to the dentist can save you money).
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking for a dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney, please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment at My Hills Dentist today.