If the windows are broken in your house, you might only need to replace the glass to restore your house to perfection. But if one part of your body’s system goes awry, it affects all the rest of the parts, too.
For example, if you have diabetes, when your dentist clears a gum infection or replaces missing teeth, that may not be a sufficient “fix.” You also need to rebuild your “house” with good nutrition to keep your gums and teeth healthy going forward.
Dana J. Rockey, DMD — an expert integrative dentist — is passionate about improving the overall health of each person who comes for treatment at South County Sleep Solutions in Newport Beach, California. If you have diabetes, here’s what you need to know about how it can affect your dental health … and vice versa.
The role of sugar
Your primary care doctor has probably already told you to cut back on sugar and processed foods to try to get your blood glucose levels under control. You may also know that eating sugar and sugary or acidic foods can create holes in your teeth called cavities, where bacteria then enter and infect your teeth and gums.
When your teeth or gums are infected, that in turn raises your blood sugar. In fact, any kind of infection raises your blood glucose levels, which will make managing your diabetes even harder.
Reduced blood flow
Diabetes damages your blood vessels, which can lead to peripheral artery disease (PAD), and problems with your vision, too. Your gums also have blood vessels.
If you have diabetes, your gums may not be getting the healthy amount of circulating blood that they need to stay strong. Poor blood flow to your gums makes them more susceptible to infections, which leads to (as you just learned) higher blood sugar.
Less blood in your oral tissues can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth makes you more susceptible to gum disease, because saliva helps wash away potentially infective bacterial from your teeth. If you have dry mouth, you don’t have enough saliva to protect your teeth from bacteria.
A healthy diet restores your mouth
In addition to taking care of your gum disease and cavities, Dr. Rockey works hand in hand with your primary care physician to help you get your diabetes under control. Because he practices integrative dental medicine, Dr. Rockey offers healthy lifestyle guidance, including:
- Nutrition coaching
- Exercise guidelines
- Stress management
He recommends a healthy, whole-foods diet that emphasizes adding more plant-based foods like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to your diet. He may also advise using supplements to be sure your body gets all of the nutrients it needs to maintain normal glucose levels and healthy gums and teeth. You may also opt for nutrition services that make preparing meals easier.
Once you optimize your overall health with lifestyle changes and a nutritious diet, you’ll notice benefits such as weight loss, better blood glucose control, and healthier teeth and gums. Improve your dental health and control your diabetes with healthy lifestyle coaching today. Use our convenient online booking form or call our office at 949-642-4632.