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Diabetes and the Mouth Body Connection

As advances in molecular biology and scientific inquiry progress, we increasingly find intimate connections between the healthiness of different areas of the body. While it may be tempting to view ourselves as a series of parts and components that work together by the direction of our mind, the interconnectivity of our entire body becomes increasingly more apparent every day. Viewing our health holistically is gradually becoming the most reasonable way to really get a picture of our body’s full function and well-being, which is why we here at Wellness Centered Dentistry make a definitive effort to treat you as an individual and consider all aspects of your health and their impact on your oral health.

Chain Reactions

When things go wrong in one area of our health, they tend to have reverberations elsewhere. In fact, about 80% of medical spending is devoted to patients with four or more chronic conditions. Disease weakens our immune system, drains our mind and body, and leaves us susceptible to further complications. Oral health is no different in this regard as it increasingly becomes a point of focus in holistic care. One of the strongest known links between oral health complications and decline in overall health is observed in the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes.

What is Periodontitis?

The periodontium are the tissues in your mouth, including the ligaments, bones, and gums that collectively create supportive structures for your teeth. Periodontitis is a disease caused by bacterial infections that lead to inflammation and deterioration of these structures. Your mouth is actually a complex ecosystem of different bacteria and enzymes. In healthy individuals, this balance of tiny life forms helps break down food and fight off harmful bacteria. When your oral health declines, however, bacteria build up around teeth, usually in the form of plaque, and repeatedly activate the immune system. This chronic increased immune response leads to inflammation of the periodontal tissues and, over time, infection and tooth loss.

Complications between Diabetes and Periodontitis 

The link between diabetes and oral health has been well observed for quite some time. About one third of people with diabetes have severe periodontitis among other increased risks for health complications. The danger of having both of these diseases is that periodontitis can lead to a progression of diabetes. The immune response and bacterial access to the bloodstream are currently believed to affect the body’s ability to control insulin levels. Thus, as peritonitis progresses, your ability to regulate insulin levels is impaired, leading to an increase in diabetic symptoms.

The Whole Picture

There is increasing scientific evidence that suggests that the relationship between diabetes and periodontitis is a two way relationship. In the same sense that diabetes can increase risks for periodontitis and vise versa, improved oral health can help with diabetic symptoms, while well-managed insulin levels can decrease the risk of periodontitis in diabetics. In other words, when it comes to diabetes, keeping a healthy mouth can help manage a potentially life-threatening disease.

Oral health can affect a variety of different aspects of your overall health and in the case of diabetes, there is hard scientific evidence establishing the tremendous role of oral health in maintaining your general well-being. If you're interested in learning more about how to improve your oral health and minimize your risk of other health hazards, including but not limited to diabetes, talk to your dentist or hygienist today. Our team partners with you from your very first visit in order to help you optimize your at-home care and improve your dental health, and we commit to patient education with every subsequent appointment! 

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