3 Diseases That Affect Oral Health
February 26, 2019
During your first visit to the dentist, you answer questions about your medical history. Your answers to these questions help your provider determine the best ways to treat your mouth. Although your oral health and your systemic well-being may not seem to be connected, some systemic diseases may make your teeth more susceptible to decay.
Here are a few conditions that can affect your dental health.
Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
More than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. The disease impairs your body's ability to digest sugars properly.
In order to utilize the sugars from the foods that you eat, your body must release enough insulin to help the sugar enter your cells for energy. However, people with diabetes either don't produce enough of this vital hormone or have become insulin-resistant.
The high levels of blood sugar and the medications that are used to treat diabetes can affect your oral health by:
- Causing dry mouth. Dry mouth, which is formally called xerostomia, occurs when the salivary glands produce too little saliva. Since saliva helps to neutralize bacterial acids and rinse away leftover particles of food, dry mouth can increase the incidence of decay.
- Inciting gum inflammation. As blood sugar levels increase, blood vessels may change, making it more difficult for required nutrients to reach the gingival tissues. Additionally, the number of oral bacteria may increase in response to a ready supply of sugars in the mouth. As a result, many people with diabetes develop periodontal disease.
Additionally, smoking can further exacerbate gum problems in people with diabetes. Diabetic patients who smoke and are at least 45 years old have 20 times the risk of developing severe gum disease.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, can also negatively affect the teeth and gums. The conditions restrict the supply of nutrients needed to support the teeth and gingival tissues.
Additionally, people with bulimia tend to binge and purge. As they binge, they may consume large amounts of unhealthy food that promote tooth decay.
The bacteria in the mouth feed on simple carbohydrates and release acidic waste that demineralizes the teeth. Thus, sugary and starchy foods incite the most dental decay.
Also, people who suffer from bulimia subject the teeth to corrosive acids as they vomit to purge the food they have consumed. Like bacterial acids, the stomach acids dissolve the tooth enamel.
Studies indicate that up to 93 percent of patients who have been diagnosed with bulimia display signs of tooth enamel damage. People who vomit most frequently may have the highest risk of enamel dissolution. However, the amount of dental harm is individualized.
People with bulimia may have teeth that display a number of issues, including:
- Sensitivity to cold and heat
Bulimic patients may also suffer from enlarged salivary glands and dry mouth. In some cases, their teeth may even die. Nevertheless, a dentist can offer restorative dental services to help repair the mouth.
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune condition. The symptoms of the disease include dry mouth. Sjogren's syndrome also changes the chemical composition of your saliva. Consequently, many people who suffer from this syndrome have an increased incidence of dental caries. In addition, they may lose a large number of teeth.
To help minimize the effects of Sjogren's syndrome on their oral health, people with the condition should visit their dentist more often than once every six months. Frequent dental visits can help the dentist monitor and treat the condition of the teeth more effectively.
If you suffer from a systemic condition and are concerned about your oral health, contact Airport Road Dental Associates to schedule an appointment.