Diabetics need to take extra care of their teeth

The relationship between diabetes, oral and general health is an important focus for this Brisbane dentist

Studies have shown that the prevalence of diabetes in Australia is increasing, with one study finding a doubling since 1981. About 4% of Australians are diagnosed with diabetes at some time in their lives (National Health Survey 2007-2008)

The Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study concluded that "Australia has a repidly rising prevalence of diabetes. The prevalence of abnormal glucose tolerance in Australia is one of the highest yet reported from a developed nation".

This is a huge problem for our health system as the complications of diabetes are fast becoming a dangerous burden on our hospital services. It might be hard to believe but prevention of these complications includes adequate care of the teeth and gums.

At Bite Dental Brisbane, we treat the whole person - not just their teeth. We understand the important connections between oral health and chronic disease. That's why, when you visit this Brisbane dentist, we take the time during our preventive visits to comprehensively review your general medical history and address your oral health as the integral part of your overall health that it is.

So what is Diabetes and why does a dentist in Brisbane find it concerning?

Diabetes is a chronic condition. This means that it lasts for a long time, often for someone's whole life.

For our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the absorption of glucose into cells. In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body

So when people with diabetes eat glucose, which is in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, it can't be converted into energy and absorbed. Instead, the glucose stays in the blood. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes - this is called hyperglycaemia.

Very simple, studies show ongoing hyperglycaemia both reduces the function of immune cells and increases inflammation. This means that people with diabetes have an immune response that doesn;t work properly and it is slow to react - leaving them more at risk to infections that their body doesn't fight very well.

It is this process that causes the symptoms and complications of diabetes, which can be quite serious. Some of these include:

  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Vision and Eye problems
  • Painful sores in the feet and legs
  • Skin and mouth infections

In more recent studies, gum disease is now considered the 6th major complication of diabetes, something which this Brisbane dentist finds worrisome.