Systemic diseases like diabetes can profoundly impact your oral health and have been implicated as risk factors and risk indicators in developing oral diseases. Chronic illnesses like diabetes can have a devasting effect on your oral health as they alter your immune defence mechanism, that is, the ability of the body to fight against offending agents like bacteria. This lowering of immune response can cause rapid destruction of oral structures like teeth and gums.

Therefore, brushing twice a day and flossing is not only essential to maintain good oral health but also overall health. Proper oral hygiene methods ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy. Many studies have been carried out which establish a relationship between diabetes and oral health.

One such research was carried out in South Korea, authored by Dr. Yoonkyung Chang, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at Ewha Woman’s University Mokdong Hospital, South Korea. Dr. Chang and the team conducted a thorough study which shows that people with good oral hygiene and those who brush their teeth three times a day also had a lower risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes. This study was also able to establish that people with poor oral health also somehow have insufficient blood sugar levels and developed conditions associated with it. This enabled Dr. Chang and her team to connect the dots and establish a relationship between oral health and the new-onset of diabetes. They showed that people with good oral health were significantly at a lower risk of developing new-onset diabetes. The mechanism and reason behind this still remain a topic of debate and much research.

We know that faulty and improper oral hygiene practices lead to dental diseases. When we don’t brush and floss regularly, we allow the bacteria to accumulate on our teeth and gums. These bacteria cause dental infections. If not removed at the initial stages, they can enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on our health. Once these bacteria enter the bloodstream, they generate a massive immune system response which is somehow responsible for abnormal blood sugar levels.

There is a relationship between oral health and the development of type 2 diabetes, but the cause and effect remain inconclusive as various factors which lead to bacterial accumulation in the mouth and the development of oral diseases also play a role development of type 2 diabetes.

Other scientists like Dr. Akankansha Goyal, an endocrinologist from NYU Langone Health in New York City, have also made similar observations which shows a strong link between gum diseases and diabetes. Diabetes can make the oral cavity susceptible to infections and cause dental diseases, but the opposite can still not be said with absolute certainty. It is widely seen that dietary patterns influence and affect how oral diseases and systemic diseases like diabetes progress. A diet rich in processed foods, alcohol and refined sugar leads to dental diseases and systemic diseases. This shows a link between the two.

A South Korean study conducted by Dr. Chang and her team collected data from over 190,000 participants where the average age was 53. One out of every 6 participants was found to be suffering from gum diseases. This data was collected over three years, and the follow-ups continued for over 10 years. It was observed that 16% of the participants developed diabetes during this period. Various factors were taken into account for the purpose of this study. The data collected included the influence of factors such as age, weight, blood pressure, physical activity, income, smoking status and alcohol intake and were digitally recorded. The research concluded that participants who have gum diseases were at a 9% higher risk of developing diabetes. In contrast, participants who had 15 or more missing teeth had a 21% higher risk of suffering from diabetes. This shows how closely oral health and systemic health are related.

We can confidently say that good oral hygiene practices, regular dental visits, healthy and balanced diet combined with regular exercise lowers the chances of developing diabetes and helps prevent its consequences.

At Fairway Dental Clinic – Kitchener Dentist Office, we care about your oral health and strive to provide you with the best possible treatment and care.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.


DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is no way to offer a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation.  Any advice provided is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.