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Now say: ‘Aaaah’!


Considering that we use our mouth and teeth so much everyday, it is interesting that somehow this area of the body sometimes does not receive much attention. This week we will touch on how poorly controlled diabetes can affect these areas of the body.{{more}}

The obvious one is a cavity, or “rotten teeth” as we called it as children. This is actually along a spectrum where a small cavity, which is damage to the outside enamel of the tooth, being a start of visible decay and the “rotten teeth” being near the end of the road when most of the tooth is black and falling out. Who wants any part of this? Not me, that’s for sure. The wearing down of the outside of your teeth and eventual “rotten teeth” starts with eating too many sweets yes, but is also linked to simply not taking care of your mouth. I don’t necessarily mean brushing your teeth ten times a day and using mouthwash that burns until you cry. But brush teeth? YES, at least twice daily. Floss between teeth? YES, at least once a day and ideally more. See your dentist at least once a year? YES, and I know this one is hard to do sometimes, but try to do so.

Before you get to the “rotten teeth” phase, many people start with gum disease. You may be saying, “Gums? Who cares?” Well, when your gums start bleeding and hurting, your breath is terrible no matter how much you brush your teeth, and your teeth start falling out, then you’ll care. One of the important things about gum disease is that it causes some inflammation in your blood as well. Guess what? This often leads to worse control of diabetes because you continue to leak small amounts of bacteria in your blood from these diseased gums. You end up with a bad cycle: poorly controlled diabetes and mouth care causes gum disease which then causes worsened diabetes. Clearly this is not any circle you want to join.

Overall, having diabetes puts you at a higher chance of having infections in your mouth. One of the most unpleasant is called Thrush. Candida is the bug causing Thrush, which is basically a yeast infection in your mouth. Often folks don’t realize what is happening until it gets out of control and they start having symptoms like a sore throat or trouble swallowing. Then a quick peek into your mouth will show a thick white coat on your tongue or along the back of your throat, and it cannot be scraped off entirely. If you notice these things, have your doctor take a look to determine if this is Thrush because it needs to be treated with medication.

Now that I have totally ruined your appetite and sent you off to brush your teeth three times in a row, my job is done.

Take care of your mouth, gums and teeth as best you can. They won’t be “permanent” teeth if you mistreat them; I assure you they will leave. Gums have been known to lash back with pain when you do not keep them clean. Bacteria and yeast/Thrush LOOOOVE sugar so much, that the sweeter you get, the more they come to visit. Remember that…

Until next week. Stay safe and healthy, Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227