The International Diabetes Federation has estimated that at present there are about 285 million people affected by Diabetes and it is likely to increase to 435 million within 20 years. The number of diabetics increases by 7 million every year. According to IDF diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death.
The International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries has said that India is the diabetic capital of the world and has the highest number of diabetic patients; this causes major health problem in this country. It says that there is alarming rise in diabetes and this has surpassed epidemic form to reach a pandemic one.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which there is insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas in your body or alternately the cells in the body do not respond to the insulin produced; both these factors result in non-absorption of blood sugar by the body cells.
This condition can be identified by symptoms such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, hunger and lethargy. Depending on the type of diabetes you might have to take either oral medications or insulin injections in addition to changing your diet.
The condition of diabetes affects the total body functions which includes your mouth. The blood sugar level in a diabetic will be high in the mouth that can cause oral health problems. The diabetes when uncontrolled impairs the white cells in your blood which is necessary for fighting bacterial infections that can occur in your mouth. In addition to impairing white blood cells, diabetes causes thickening of blood vessels in the mouth. This further reduces the ability of the body to fight infections.
Diabetics are likely to suffer from the following dental problems if they do not control their sugar level.
Diabetics have high glucose content in their saliva which helps in the thriving of bacteria thereby resulting in gum disease as well as cavities. The diabetic patient takes frequent meals during the day which again results in the growth of bacteria and cavities development.
On the other hand the diabetics are more knowledgeable about this condition and also diet that they have to eat to control their diabetes. This will reduce the sugar content in their saliva.
The probability of getting tooth decay and gum diseases for a person with controlled diabetes is more or less the same as a person without diabetes. Hence it is important that a diabetic follows good oral hygiene and control his glucose level to avoid gum diseases and cavities.
Uncontrolled diabetes results in gingivitis as well as periodontal diseases and this infection could spread to the underlying bone anchoring the teeth. Further these infections take a longer time to cure in diabetics.
However it is possible to prevent or reduce the occurrence of tooth loss by practicing good dental care and oral hygiene habits viz. brushing after every meal with a toothpaste containing fluoride, daily flossing and also keeping the blood glucose levels under control.