Research confirms your mouth is the index of your body! It can tell you a lot about your whole body. In fact, your mouth could be the first one to tell you if you have got certain diseases such as diabetes.
Most of the times, diseases such as diabetes go on undiagnosed until they cause major complications. Nerve diseases and diseases affecting the crucial organs such as the eyes are a few of them.
Diabetes is a condition wherein there are high blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes cuts down the lifespan by hampering the health of the vital organs.
Your mouth could give you the first sign of diabetes. The researchers at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine confirmed dentists could be the first ones to identify diabetes in as much as 73% of cases.
Bad breath, red/ swollen/ bleeding gums, bleeding while brushing, dry mouth/ urge to drink water more often, or more cavities recently are a few of the signs of diabetes. Thus, your dentist can help you in the early identification of diseases.
Your oral health and systemic diseases such as diabetes have a vice versa link too.
While poor oral health could signal diabetes, uncontrolled diabetes makes it difficult to improve oral health. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, relaxation exercises, etc. help you in controlling your sugar levels.
Regular check-up from your dentist also helps you prevent the worsening of diabetes!
By improving your oral health you can improve your sugar levels. Yes, you read it right. When there is poor oral health, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for unhealthy bacteria. Such bacteria release toxins into your bloodstream via the inflamed (red, swollen) gums. The toxins in turn worsen the sugar levels.
On the contrary, when you follow through dental hygiene, your gum health improves. Other signs such as bad breath improve too, which obviously means you have less unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. Thus, they release lesser toxins in your blood and your blood sugar levels improve.
- You brush twice a day with a good quality fluoride-containing toothpaste
- Use a good quality brush and change it when the bristles bend more than half of their normal angle.
- Remember to floss every day.
- Learn the right brushing and flossing techniques from your dentist.
- Rinse your mouth each time after you have food.
- Avoid sugar, refined grains, and processed foods as they are bad for your teeth.
- Meet your dentist every six months. Untreated cavities make room for harmful bacteria and cause tooth infection.
There is another breakthrough in diabetes prevention!
It’s about detecting pre-diabetes via the oral signs.
Pre-diabetes is a condition wherein blood sugar levels are high but not as high as in diabetes.
Early signs of gingivitis (gum disease) could indicate pre-diabetes confirms a study published in The Journal of Dental Research.
The good news is by taking the right care in pre-diabetes such as diet and exercise, you can prevent diabetes!
Poor oral health is linked to poor heart health too.
The harmful toxins by the bacteria harm your heart health. Also, by keeping your mouth clean, you can see a marked improvement in parameters that indicate better heart health.
Besides, if you notice your oral health worsening, it is a sign that other parameters such as sugar or heart health parameters are worsening. Research published in Clinical Microbiology in 2000 mentions the link between oral health and other systemic diseases. It specifically talks about periodontitis, a condition where gum inflammation spreads to the underlying bone causing loose teeth and tooth loss. The paper confirms periodontitis worsens several systemic conditions such as bacterial pneumonia (lung infection) and increases the chances of stroke in addition to heart diseases and diabetes.
Poor oral health in pregnancy could lead to preterm deliveries and low birth weight
Longer the baby stays and grows in the womb, the better it is for the health of the baby. Preterm deliveries are not recommended. Such babies are more likely to develop chronic/ long-term health problems that might require hospitalization. Infections, asthma (respiratory diseases causing difficulty breathing,) feeding problems, problems in vital organs such as heart and brain are a few of those. You can prevent all this mess just by spending a few minutes a day on your oral health! I’m sure you agree prevention is better than cure…
Written by Dr. Kamakshi Mahale.
Dr. Kamakshi G.Mahale is a Dental Surgeon by profession. She completed her Bachelors in Dental Surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences at SDM College of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Dharwad, in 2007. She is a passionate health blogger and a medical writer too.