Any holistic dentistry professional in Seattle will tell you that your mouth is a window to your overall health. When your holistic dentist looks into your mouth and sees cavities, discolored gums, or erosion, they may also be seeing signs of mineral deficiency, anemia and gastrointestinal disease. Seattle’s holistic dentists believe that taking care of your mouth will actually contribute to better overall health. At the very least, interpreting how oral health symptoms can signal something larger and help improve your overall health.
Diabetes and Oral Health
One medical condition that tends to permeate itself with oral health impacts is diabetes. According to the CDC, 29.1 million people (nearly 10% of the population) have diabetes. This condition occurs when someone is unable to produce enough insulin or their cells do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a key regulator for blood sugar (or blood glucose) – overly high levels can prove fatal. Those with this chronic condition take insulin shots to regulate their insulin and blood sugar levels. It’s estimated that 8.1 million people (or 27.8% of people with diabetes) are actually undiagnosed. Diabetes is not a condition that goes unnoticed – there are several oral health symptoms that you should report to your Seattle holistic dentistry professionals that can help them diagnose whether or not they are actually the result of diabetes.
Think of high blood sugar as promoting a domino effect within your body. When your blood sugar levels are elevated, you’ll need to visit the bathroom more often to urinate. This in turn dehydrates your body, making you feel consistently thirsty and have a dry mouth. Of course, before you panic, this isn’t the only cause of dry mouth. First of all, dehydration can be a short-term state – you may be extremely thirsty during a particularly hot week, or during a time when you are over-exerting yourself through physical activity and not consuming enough fluids. Secondly, dry mouth is often linked to other medical treatments, and not just conditions. Everything from the medicine you consume to any medical treatments you’re undergoing (for example, chemotherapy for cancer) can give you dry mouth. Finally, your salivary glands could be damaged after an injury, surgery or from chewing tobacco. No matter what, if you are experiencing persistent dry mouth, it’s worth a conversation with your Seattle holistic dentistry professionals – they’ll be able to advise what the possible cause is (including diabetes).
This holistic dentistry symptom of diabetes somewhat goes hand-in-hand with dry mouth. Saliva is essential for clearing away debris from your meals that can otherwise build up and lead to odor-producing bacteria. If you have diabetes and you’re dehydrated as a result, that decreased saliva production allows the bacteria to accumulate.
However, it’s important to recognize that diabetes patients tend to have a unique aroma to their breath – it’s often described as a fruity yet rotten smell. When your body doesn’t produce insulin, your cells aren’t receiving the glucose they need. In order to function, your body begins burning fat instead of sugar, which produces something called ketones. As the ketones build up, they can produce this distinctive bad scent. In order to combat this bad breath, your Seattle holistic dentistry professionals will recommend brushing at least twice a day, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding any medical or chemical products (such as mouthwash) that can further dry out your mouth.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Again, dry mouth is the culprit for an increase in gum disease amongst those with diabetes. When your mouth is too dry, you can experience ulcers, infections, inflamed gums and more. Again, there are many reasons why you might be suffering from gum disease, but oftentimes when paired with bad breath and / or dry mouth, it can all signal undiagnosed diabetes. Talk to your Seattle holistic dentistry clinic if you are experiencing these symptoms on a regular basis. They’ll help you explore the possible causes – and whether it’s time to enlist the support of a doctor in Seattle.