Work, school, soccer games, whatever it is, these life events can cause preventive health care to fall by the wayside. Then a painful symptom reminds you it’s been a while since your last checkup. It’s tempting to put off seemingly minor dental issues until your schedule lightens up. But the warning signs below shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is especially true if you’re managing a chronic condition, like diabetes. Oral health should not be neglected.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 54,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer this year. People who smoke are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, gum problems and complications after oral surgery. Smokers have a lowered resistance to infections and healing.
Diabetes affects your whole body and oral health, especially your teeth and gums. People with diabetes have a higher chance of getting gum disease and Periodontitis. Periodontal disease can lead to chronic bad breath, difficulty eating, pain and even tooth loss. Diabetes can also slow down healing, so it can interfere with treatment of periodontal disease. The effect is even greater when your blood sugar is not well controlled, making it harder to fight bacterial infections.
Your mouth is full of bacteria that continues to build up on the teeth in a sticky layer, which is referred to as plaque. The foods and drinks you consume contain sugars that form bacteria in your mouth. Digesting these sugars form acids that eventually cause the enamel of your teeth to weaken. If this acid stays there for a longer period of time, it results in decaying of the teeth.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 48,250 individuals are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. A majority of the cases are found in the late-stage of the disease. This accounts for a very high death rate. About half the people diagnosed with oral cancer will not survive more than five years. The good news is that your dentist can see or feel the precancerous tissue changes which might lead to a cancer.
Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection that damages the gums. It can deteriorate you jawbone and cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is generally caused by poor oral hygiene. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems like diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and lung disease.