Tag Archives: diabetes and oral health

The Consequences of Poor Oral Health

Although dentistry has always been part of the health community, for many years oral health was looked as a lesser health concern and was not held in high esteem among those in the heath industry as compared to other professions. Alas, in recent years this has been proven to be incorrect, as oral health has revealed itself not only be a much more significant issue than originally suspected, but also to be the root cause of numerous additional health complications. While the resulting ailments may vary in severity, some have potential to be quite serious or even fatal, if left untreated.

Poor Oral Health and General Health

Make no mistake, oral hygiene is extremely important, and while you might be able to get away with a couple slip-ups here and there; unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope to poor oral health. As it can be extremely easy to get into the habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care, thus setting yourself up for inevitable health issues.

For many in people in the past this has sadly been the case, as progressive diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease, typically manifest slowly over an extended period, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until they reach their advanced stages. If these illnesses have progressed to a later stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, trigger a litany of additional health problems as well! Whether it be gum disease, tooth decay, or other health complications, the consequences of inadequate oral hygiene and poor oral health are never pretty!

Health Complications

At first glance, the two major consequences of improper oral hygiene (Tooth Decay and Gum Disease) may strictly seem like oral health issues. However, in reality these issues go much deeper than that as their affects not only wreak havoc on your oral health but cause an excess amount of oral bacteria to build up as well.

If the bacteria produced by either condition can enter the bloodstream, it may likely travel to other areas of the body, thereby spreading and worsening the infection. If the infectious bacteria reach the heart of its host, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, ultimately strangling the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less.

Learn more about Dental Health Awareness and how Gum Disease and Heart Disease are linked here.

As a result of this, individuals suffering from severe tooth decay or periodontal disease, (or both) have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular-based complications. Additionally, tooth decay and more particularly gum disease, can also lead to the worsening of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or various types of cancer, which is likely to have serious if not fatal results.

Learn more about the link between Diabetes and Oral Health and its link to gum disease here.

 Prevention: The Six-Month Rule

It’s often said that “The best defense is a good offense” and when it comes to maintaining your health (both oral and overall) such an approach is perhaps the smartest route. If you have read any of our previous blog entries, you may be familiar with what we at Overland Park Dentistry refer to as “The Six-Month Rule”, and while this term is not yet widely known among the general populace, learning and adhering to the six-month rule is perhaps one of the best ways in protecting both your oral and overall health.

As its name implies, the six-month rule is the recommended amount of time between scheduled dental checkups, resulting two routine dental checkups annually. By taking the time to receive two checkups per year you are much more likely to correct poor oral health habits and prevent potential issues before they are allowed to become a threat to your well-being.

Learn why you should schedule your summer dental appointment here.

So, ask yourself:

When was my last dental appointment?


Just how often do I take the time to make sure I am properly brushing and caring for my teeth?

If you found yourself unable to honestly answer either of these two questions, we strongly encourage you to come see us at Overland Park Dentistry so that we may help keep both you and your teeth healthy!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Diabetes and Oral Health: The Link between Diabetes and Gum Disease


Diabetes and Oral Health: Diabetes by the Numbers

You may be wondering if diabetes and oral health are actually linked. We wanted to dive into that topic today…

As you are probably aware, diabetes is one of the most common and widespread diseases, affecting approximately 9.3 of the U.S. population today. Diabetes in the most basic sense is a disorder in which the person’s body is no longer able to properly react or produce the hormone known as insulin. This results in a heightened level of glucose (sugar) within the bloodstream, which if left untreated can bring about multitude of health problems or complications, some of which may be potentially fatal. Therefore, to correctly treat and manage diabetes, a diabetic must be willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes to do so.

Such changes may include:

  • Adhering to a specific diet and exercise regimen
  • Routinely monitoring one’s blood glucose levels
  • Giving up certain habits or preferences that may negatively affect the condition

Although a diabetic must face a number of obstacles in maintaining their health, one hazard that mustn’t ever be overlooked, is oral health. Oral health of course, refers the mouth and everything in it. In the case of a diabetic, if oral health is neglected or improperly cared for, the results can be catastrophic, as periodontal disease will likely interact with and thereby worsen diabetes.


Oral Health And Periodontal Disease

Oral health has historically been long overlooked by the medical field and was often dismissed as more of a nuisance rather than a legitimate medical concern. However, in recent years this perception has changed dramatically, as further research continues to discover irrefutable evidence linking oral health and various other illnesses and conditions, one of which would undeniably be diabetes.

To put it simply, if one fails to adequately care for their oral health, they run the risk of developing the condition known as periodontal disease, or otherwise known as perio or gum disease. Although gum disease is a progressive and sometimes slowly occurring disease, in the case of diabetics however, the effects of gum disease are quicker and much fiercer.

The harsh truth is that diabetics have a much higher probability of developing gum disease. If a diabetic develops gum disease, it is imperative that they receive proper care for and closely monitor both illnesses, as neglecting one will likely exacerbate the other!

For instance; if you suffer from diabetes, but fail to properly maintain your blood glucose levels, you will have elevated levels of glucose (or sugar) circulating throughout different areas in your body, especially within your mouth. In response to the heightened glucose, your mouth begins accumulating excess bacteria, which ultimately creates the ideal setting for an infection like periodontal disease to develop and flourish.

Conversely, periodontitis is a progressive bacterial infection within the gum tissue that if neglected, can severely damage or destroy your gums, teeth, and jaw. However, like any infection, gum disease may profoundly affect and destabilize you’re the blood glucose level, therefore making them increasingly difficult to control and ultimately allowing the diabetes to exponentially progress.


Diabetes and Oral Health: What to Watch For!

While the symptoms of diabetes are certainly notable, as it affects nearly all aspects of your health, if left unchecked and it may likely begin interacting with affecting your oral health almost immediately. Therefore, some of the telltale signs of this internal interaction are:

  • Sore or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Eroding gum line
  • Thrush or fungal infections
  • Prolonged or slow-healing sores or wounds
  • Teeth that may feel loose or sensitive
  • Dry mouth or burning sensation
  • Difficulty tasting certain foods
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Persistent foul breath
  • Increased susceptibility to additional oral infections or complications


Oh, Thank Heaven! Seven Prevention Tips:

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, or know someone is, there are many tips and tricks that can be utilized to help prevent periodontal disease or reduce the likelihood of any further damage from occurring.

  1. Always remember to brush and floss:

While this may seem rather obvious, it’s important to remember that consistency is without doubt, one of the key aspects in successful maintenance of any sort, and your teeth are certainly no exception! Therefore, taking time to both brush and floss everyday is a mandatory first step when managing diabetes and oral health. Remember that sometimes its simplest things that matter most!

  1. Keep your blood glucose levels in your target range:

It’s absolutely critical that when managing diabetes and oral health you keep constant track of your A1C level, or the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream. An A1C level of below 7 percent is generally what’s recommended; however, for specifics, you’ll need to contact your doctor.

  1. Use proper technique:

Again, this may seem obvious, but it’s very important to stress how proper technique can play a major factor when managing diabetes and oral health. Because brushing is such a routine habit, many people brush their teeth without even giving it a second thought. Yes, it IS an easy habit to get into, but by taking a few extra minuets daily to thoroughly brush not only your teeth, but your tongue as well, and then to floss afterwards can really make a big difference! Also remember brushing at least three times a day will give you the best results, when it comes to brushing three is the magic number.

  1. Make use of tools:

Fluoride rinse, dental picks, anti-plaque mouthwash, and of course dental floss, are all effective weapons that can be used to ward off gum disease and keep your mouth healthy when managing diabetes and oral health! If you feel that any such tools might be of help to you, consult your dentist for professional opinion.

  1. Schedule routine dental appointments:

To properly maintain both oral and general health, it’s imperative that you schedule routine checkups with your dentist. Generally, most dentists recommend that you make at least two appointments per year; however, as mentioned earlier diabetics are always at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease, and therefore additional appointments might be necessary. Remember Dr. Charles R. Kimes and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry is your best friend when it comes to managing your diabetes and oral health, so be sure to tell them that you have diabetes, and let them know of any changers or concerns.

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

  1. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise:

While certainly sticking to a healthy diet and exercising is a great idea for anyone, when managing diabetes and oral health it becomes just that much more important. Whether signing up for a gym membership, or just taking the time once a day to walk or jog, finding a way to stay active is the key to not only healthier life, bur a happier one too!

  1. Don’t Smoke:

It’s no secret by now that smoking is bad for you. Smoking can certainly put you at risk for gum disease and additional complications with diabetes. If you are unable to quit and need help, contact your doctor for assistance.


Overland Park Dentistry: Always Your Ally

While diabetes is obviously not an issue to take lightly, the purpose of this information is not to scare you, but rather to inform you of the potential health hazards of untreated diabetes, particularly that of gum disease and its often-dangerous relationship with diabetes. Here at Overland Park Dentistry, we want you to know that despite its serious nature, there are many methods to successfully managing and overcoming this diabetes/gum disease combo, and numerous sources are available to help you as well! At Overland Park Dentistry we hope to be a valuable source and a powerful ally of yours in this scenario, so if you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us at Overland Park Dentistry!

Related Article: Your Overland Park Dentist: Charles R. Kimes, DDS

Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Link between Diabetes and Oral Health


Diabetes and You

As any person living with diabetes would certainly tell you, life with diabetes is often something of a balancing act between managing one’s lifestyle to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Despite seeming a bit overwhelming at first, once familiar with the daily requirements, managing diabetes may eventually seem as routine as brushing your teeth.

Ironically however, in two such aspects of everyday life, in daily diabetes management and routine dental care, we see the simultaneous treatment of two vitally important health issues that can in fact directly affect one another. To put it simply; your oral health affects your diabetes and at same time, your diabetes affects your oral health. Although this may sound silly, it is important to understand this concept as failure to properly care for one, will almost certainly end up affecting the other.

Diabetes and Oral Health: Periodontitis is more than just an eyesore 

Regardless of whether you’re a diabetic or not, grasping the absolute importance of regularly maintaining a diabetic’s blood sugar level is certainly an easy concept to understand. Oddly what’s less understood or perhaps simply overlooked, is the supreme importance of practicing proper oral hygiene.

While most of us have surely forgotten to brush our teeth on one occasion or another, all too often when we do brush we simply scrub for a moment or two, then spit and continue to go about our day. Sure this is an easy habit to get into, but if this continues long enough you may find yourself facing periodontal disease.

Whether known as periodontal disease, periodontitis, or simply gum disease, this condition is commonly thought of as something of a nuisance that merely discolors your teeth or gives you bad breath. This however is a gross misconception, as periodontal disease if neglected can stir up a hornet’s nest of problems that’s almost guaranteed to prove detrimental to both your oral health and general health as well.

In truth, periodontal disease is a progressive infection that begins in the gums surrounding your teeth, and eventually spreads throughout the mouth causing inflammation and damage to everything it reaches. In some severe cases, gum disease can almost entirely destroy one’s jawbone. However in other cases it may spread into other regions of body, and thereby trigger additional illnesses or interact with pre-existing ones.

Diabetes and Gum Disease: The Gruesome Twosome

As you can probably surmise from this juncture, suffering from either diabetes or gum disease in of itself can be an uphill battle. However if you were develop both of these conditions, then it is absolutely imperative that you properly care for and consistently monitor both illnesses in equal measure, as neglecting one will likely exacerbate the other. Therefore, the link between diabetes and oral health is extremely critical.

For instance, if your diabetes is left unchecked or poorly managed, this will surely cause elevated levels of glucose or sugar to circulate throughout the body, including your mouth. With this heightened level of glucose, the mouth begins to build up an excessive amount of bacteria, thus ravaging your oral health and creating the ideal setting for an infection like periodontal disease to develop and flourish.

As mentioned previously, periodontitis is a progressive bacterial infection within the gum tissue that if neglected, can severely damage or destroy your gums, teeth, and jaw. However like any infection, gum disease likely affect and destabilize the blood glucose level of the sufferer and thereby make the levels increasingly difficult to control and ultimately cause the diabetes to exponentially progress.

Diabetes and Oral Health: Prevention and Management

Without question, the best way in which you can properly assess, prevent, or manage these simultaneous conditions is to consult with your physician and dentist. As they may provide you with the knowledge and resources necessary to repel the barrage of health issues that may be associated with these two overlapping illnesses that link your diabetes and oral health.

However while seeking additional insight and/or new treatment methods, it’s important not to overlook the basics of diabetes and oral health care also, as simply taking the time to ensure that your blood glucose is at a healthy level and that your teeth are properly brushed and flossed, can make all the difference in the world!

After all sometimes it’s the smallest things we do every day that truly matter the most.

Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to help you manage your diabetes and oral health! Or with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule a dental appointment, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.