Can Diabetes Affect Orthodontic Treatment?

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects millions of people in the United States. Although it may not be life-threatening, diabetes can cause other consequences such as tooth decay and orthodontic treatments to become ineffective if untreated. In this post, we’ll show you 5 facts on whether diabetes can affect orthodontic treatment. Let’s get going.

Diabetes testing kit

Diabetes and Disease

Diabetes has been found in many adults these days due to its prevalence. However, this condition should still be taken seriously for there are harmful effects associated with it including threats towards oral health like dental caries/cavities from sugar intake during meals that lead to this issue.

People with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. For this reason, it is important for people with diabetes to understand its effects and practice good oral hygiene before, during, and after orthodontic treatment.

For example, problems with your mouth cavity will make you more susceptible to gum diseases or cavities because there are bacteria present inside teeth after eating food which leads them into plaque buildups on the surface of our teeth (especially those who don’t brush their teeth often.)

Diabetes weakens white blood cells. These tiny cells are your body’s best defense against infections in your mouth. Also, diabetes causes dry mouth. Saliva is essential for washing away food particles, bacteria and neutralizing tooth-decaying acids.

Not to mention, diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken. These blood vessels are responsible for carrying nutrients to tissues in your body and your mouth. The thickening of the vessels slows this process. These all affect your overall health. 

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a result of bacteria build-up that causes infections in the tissues, and happens when brushing teeth doesn’t get it all off. This leads to inflammation of gums with swelling and bleeding which may eventually lead to loosened or lost teeth. Not just for people with diabetes but also for those without diabetes. 

Gum diseases can increase blood sugar levels due to things like nerve damage as well as insulin resistance caused by gum tissue changes that happen from infection.

Diabetes and Orthodontics

Periodontal disease puts added stress on the gums, which can complicate orthodontic treatment. Braces also cause stress on the gums due to the movement of teeth. In some cases, this may lead to early termination of treatments. 

To avoid complications, practice managing your diabetic lifestyle by eating well-balanced meals regularly, staying active (even if it’s just walking,) and following doctor recommendations about insulin injections or other medication dosages that might need adjusting based upon changes in sugar levels as directed by blood tests results. 

Brush after every meal when possible even snacks will help keep those pesky sugars under control. 

How to Spot the Signs

Delicate teeth can be vulnerable to trauma and infection when braces are applied, so contact our office as soon as possible if you suspect signs of gum disease. It is important that any sign or symptom of a problem gets addressed before it spreads throughout the mouth. Signs include:

  • A difference in your bite (it might feel weird) 
  • Sensitive teeth from receding gums (you may hurt more easily or taste metal)
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing/flossing

Smoking, Diabetes and Gum Issues

A bad combination to say the least. According to The Cleveland Clinic’s research on diabetes patients with smoking habits, if you have both these conditions then your chances of developing periodontitis are up 20 times more than those who don’t smoke.

Quitting is about all that can be done for this high-risk group. Thankfully though, it’s possible and necessary to prevent gum disease by controlling blood sugar levels and practicing good oral hygiene practices like brushing twice per day with fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash after every meal. 

Contact us for a FREE Consultation

Now that you know the basics of diabetes, you can confidently get treatment without worrying about the effect on your life.

If you would like to find out more about how to take care of your diabetes while wearing braces, set up an appointment with Dr. Childers at one of the three convenient Childers Orthodontics locations.

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