We know too much sugar can cause cavities. So, it is not surprising that too much glucose, also called sugar in your blood from diabetes, can cause pain, infection, and other problems in your mouth, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Glucose is present in your saliva—the fluid in your mouth that makes it wet. When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. Plaque also comes from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay or cavities. Other types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath. Therefore, diabetics who are not careful in controlling sugar intake are more prone to cavities, as well as gum disease.
Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way, according to the American Diabetic Association. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, especially when blood glucose is high, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Research suggests that people with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). People with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.
It can be said that overconsumption of sugar may be a major cause of two of the most prevalent diseases in the world, i.e., gum disease and diabetes.
National surveys have found that the average American consumes around 85 grams of sugar every day. According to the new USDA guidelines, we should really be eating a fraction of that amount. The recommended sugar intake for adult women is 22 grams of sugar per day, for adult men, 36 grams daily, and for children, 12 grams a day.
Over time, consistently taking in more sugar will lead to insulin disease, otherwise known as diabetes. What’s alarming is that many people do not realize they are on the road to diabetes. This epidemic of “on the way to diabetes” is called prediabetes. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t appear suddenly and the slow, long and invisible road there is “prediabetes,” which is where blood sugar levels are consistently higher than normal over a long time, slowly affecting insulin signaling.
So, overconsumption of sugar leads not only to cavities and gum disease, but also can predispose you to prediabetes and even diabetes. In summary, cut down on the sugar intake. Be consistent in your home dental care, as well as your visits to your dentist.
If you would like more information about diabetes, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.
Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.