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smile counsel


he state of your teeth and gums can have a major impact

on anyone’s overall health, and there are established links

between diabetes and the health of the mouth. According

to dentist Richard Guyver, “Not only does diabetes increase

the risk of mouth inflammation, but inflammation in the mouth

increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, or make it harder to control your

blood sugar if you already have it.”

People with diabetes may have an increased risk of dry

mouth, tooth decay, oral thrush, and gum disease. Says Guyver,

“Diabetics are twice as likely to have gum disease as those

Dentist Richard Guyver

without diabetes. Any worsening of gum disease in someone

with diabetes can be an indicator that kidney failure may follow.”

Be in no doubt, most people have low-grade infections in their

gum shields mouths all the time, which is often spotted as blood on a toothbrush

Research has shown that inflammation in the mouth (i.e. gum or when spitting out. What is less obvious is that by-products of

disease) can increase susceptibility to diabetes, can disrupt these infections are released into the blood and can damage the

glycaemic control and even affect the body’s production of pancreas, so your ability to produce insulin is reduced. This can

insulin. If you’re already diagnosed with diabetes, it is suggested trigger type 2 diabetes or make both type 1 and type 2 diabetes

that by controlling inflammation in the mouth you can reduce harder to control if you already have it.

your dependency on your medication as well as lessen the

impact of the condition on the rest of the body. diabetes and dentistry

Inflammation can result from any crack in a tooth which goes

beyond the gum, tooth decay, or from badly-made fillings

or crowns that don’t fit properly or gum disease. As well

as low-grade gum infections, teeth can have low-grade

infections too. Often these are completely symptom

free, sometimes they only give mild symptoms such as

a small lump that comes and goes on the gum, often with

no pain. Any inflammation is exacerbated by dry mouth

(as saliva carries immune components which help the

body destroy bacteria) and smoking.

Guyver has developed the diabetes-dental matrix, a system

that allows dentists to assess the aspects of the mouth

that influence diabetes, and the aspects of diabetes that

influence the mouth. This means he can see how one impacts on

the other, and offer solutions to help improve both.

Diabetes and Dentistry offers free information both to the general

public and to dentists.


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