IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is linked to oral health, and vice versa. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues. Likewise, mental conditions can cause oral health issues. The connection between them is direct, cyclical and, when oral health is neglected, detrimental.

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DIABETES AND YOUR TEETH

Diabetes may cause serious problems with keeping your mouth healthy and having an attractive smile. The disease causes difficulties in the mouth, and problems in the mouth may cause trouble with diabetes. With diabetes, glucose is present in the saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, increased glucose in the saliva allows harmful bacteria to grow.   Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most widespread chronic inflammatory condition worldwide, says Dr. Wayne Aldredge.

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SMART APPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH CARE

Oral health is often taken for granted. The mouth is a window into the health of the entire body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.   Regardless of age, oral health is very important. Positive oral health leads to improved overall health. More Americans today are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives.

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a tongue brush, a tongue scraper or special cleaners. Mouth rinsing is another important oral hygiene practice. Choose your mouth rinse carefully. Some rinses have fluoride intended to decrease cavities, but this does nothing for gum disease or bad breath. Other rinses are meant to be used prior to brushing. The best types of mouth rinse for gum disease and bad breath – which are of great concern for people with diabetes – address bacteria and their byproducts that contribute to these problems. Mouth rinses containing oxidizing agents are recommended, and they should also be sugar-free. Another concern for people with diabetes is the amount of alcohol in a rinse because it has a drying effect. Saliva plays an important role in oral health. Anything that dries out oral tissues is likely to increase oral health problems, including the potential for bacterial growth.

Diabetes is linked to increased periodontal disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gum and bone supporting the teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. It is a serious infection that, if left untreated, leads to tooth loss. For diabetic patients, it can be life threatening. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than others; more than 70 percent of diabetic patients also have periodontal disease. This is probably because diabetics are more susceptible to infections.


Research suggests the link goes both ways: Periodontal disease may make it more difficult to control blood sugar and uncontrolled blood sugar can make it more difficult to eliminate periodontal disease. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar. Research has shown that after treating periodontal disease, it is easier to manage a patient’s diaetes.


Diabetes increases the likelihood of tooth decay. “In diabetic patients, due to the slow glucose metabolism rate and low immunity, a high glucose level in saliva leads to bacterial infection, resulting in diabetic oral manifestations like swollen gums,” said Dr. Vikas Goud. “The insulin, which would have helped in glucose metabolism, is now used to fight infections. Therefore, the sugar level goes up further, posing a risk to

DIABETES AND DENTAL HEALTH

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover

diabetic patients. Once the sugar level comes down, the swollen gums become normal.”


A recent study from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine showed people with diabetes were more than twice as likely to lose all their teeth than people without diabetes. A cohort study from 1971 to 2012 found this risk is highest in non-Hispanic blacks.


Oral Care for People with Diabetes


Regular oral hygiene and visits to the dentist are imperative for people with diabetes. Teeth should be brushed at least twice daily with a soft brush. When possible, brush them about 30 minutes after meals. Brushing with soft bristles is important because stiff bristles or brushing too vigorously can damage the gums and increase the potential for dental problems. Teeth should also be flossed at least once a day.


Tongue brushing is a good practice for oral health. You can use a tooth brush,