Diabetes And Oral Health: Here’s The Link Between Nutrition And Oral Health For Diabetic Patients

Diabetic people having irregular blood glucose levels in saliva are more prone to gum disease/ infections and dry mouth allowing dental plaque to surface on the teeth leading to tooth decay, caries, and cavities.

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Dr. Riddhi Rathi Shet, Managing Director at Orthosquare™ and Managing Director and CEO at Flexalign

Oral health and general health are inseparable and one influences the other. Nutrition plays a major role in dental health. Similarly, oral health is affected by your food and diet intake.

Moreover, it has an impact on the quality of life and health outcomes of an individual. Poor dental health is associated with many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal diseases, and pregnancy complications. Despite this, mouth health remains neglected and overlooked.

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According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2020 report, 463 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes across the world, out of which 77 million are Indians. In addition to this, the statistics from the ADA claims that 1 in 5 cases of complete tooth loss is directly linked to diabetes.

India has one of the highest numbers of diabetic patients in the world with no signs of slowing down. Diabetic people having irregular blood glucose levels in saliva are more prone to gum disease/ infections and dry mouth allowing dental plaque to surface on the teeth leading to tooth decay, caries, and cavities.

Having a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, family diabetic history, gestational diabetes or prediabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are a few well-established risk factors for diabetes. Diabetes and oral health are directly proportional to each other and having bad oral health lead to an increase in diabetes.

Amylase enzymes secreted in saliva aid the breakdown of starches into simple sugar molecules which further can be absorbed in the bloodstream. This salivary amylase affects the oral perception of starches, pre-absorptive metabolic signaling, and plasma glucose response to ingested starch.

In today’s fast-paced life, people tend to eat the same amounts of starch on average whether they make high or low levels of salivary amylase. The ones who produce low levels of salivary amylase and eat high amounts of starch at risk for developing metabolic syndromes like diabetes.

A healthy lifestyle with calorie control, nutrition intake, and exercise are imperative for diabetic patients. A healthy diet can control, prevent, and can even reverse diabetes and its effect on oral health. What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are important factors in maintaining your blood glucose level in the ideal range.

What food should you consume to control diabetes and to keep up with good oral health?
A healthy diabetic diet doesn’t have to be restrictive or giving up your favorite food, it simply means cutting down on the quantity of intake and proportionate consumption.

However, over the years we all have fallen prey to a few myths about preventive measures for diabetes like zero sugar consumption and special diabetic meals. Whereas conscious living is the key with planned, limited intake and holistic diet

Increase Intake

  • High fiber cereals and beans are rich in vitamin B along with full nutrition.
  • Fruits and green vegetables; oranges, melon, berries, apples, broccoli, spinach, leafy cabbage are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Items are rich in protein such as eggs, fatty fish, chicken, low-fat dairy products and sugarless yogurt.

Limit Intake

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages such as juice, regular soda, and regular sports or energy drinks.
  • Eating bread, refined flour foods, and cereals strengthen blood sugar level in diabetic people.
  • Packed and fast foods, especially which are highly processed, baked, chips, crackers, dry fruits can stick into your gums for a long period of time and quickly raise your blood sugar levels.
  • Processed meat or red meat.

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When diabetes is not well managed you are at a high risk of developing tooth/ gum problems. It is vital to visit your dental professional to take special care of your oral health and control your blood glucose levels to prevent any mouth disease.

Making healthy food choices and following a balanced diet will not only help to reduce dental and diabetic complications but also prevent serious diseases.

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