New Study Links Diabetes to Weakening of Teeth and Tooth Decay

Man using glucometer, checking blood sugar level. Diabetes concept

A new study from Rutgers may provide insight into just why patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are so prone to tooth decay and reduced strength and durability of enamel and dentin (the hard substance under the tooth’s enamel that provides structure to the teeth). 

The study looked at two groups of mice with 35 participants in each group. All groups started with comparable teeth. Group 1 were induced with Type 1 diabetes and group 2 were ‘healthy’. After 12 weeks, the group with diabetes saw tooth enamel grow significantly softer with the gap continuing to widen as the study went on. 

The study is part of a multiyear effort by Rutgers School of Dental Medicine to understand how diabetes affects dental health and to develop treatments that counter its negative impact. 

While this particular study is new, it’s not the first time we have seen the disease linked with oral health concerns. In fact, even the CDC admits that gum disease can be more severe and harder to heal if you are suffering from diabetes. And on the flip side, If you have gum disease, your diabetes may be harder to manage. So much research points to these conditions having a great effect on one another and overall and most importantly, the human body and its overall health and wellbeing. 

Did you know that 29.1 million people living in the United States have diabetes? That’s 9.3% of the population. Diabetes affects the way your body processes sugar. For instance, in Type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin (the hormone responsible for carrying sugar from your blood to the cells that need it for energy). In Type II diabetes, your body just stops responding to insulin. Both types of diabetes result in high blood sugar levels. 

Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. Poor blood sugar regulation increases the risk of gum issues making those with diabetes more prone to periodontitis. As with all infections, infections associated with gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise, making diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

Professional dental care is essential if you are suffering from diabetes. Even if you don’t have gum disease, prevention is extremely important. If you have diabetes it’s likely that you will come in more often than the recommended twice yearly exam and professional cleanings. This is due to the fact that we would want to keep a closer eye on your gum health and help prevent build up of plaque by professional deep cleanings as often as recommended at your appointment. Dr. Davey and his team are here to help every step of the way. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office today at 858-538-8300.