Based on the statistics by Ministry of Health (MOH) Singapore, diabetes is one of the top 10 inpatient admitting conditions, with an increase of 20,000 cases from 180,000 in Year 2012 to 200,000 in Year 2013.
Diabetes is a chronic condition where one has high blood sugar either due to the inadequacy of insulin production, the body’s cells inability to respond properly to insulin, or both.
There are 3 types of diabetes: Type I, Type II and gestational diabetes.
- Type I is an autoimmune condition and it is usually presented in a child or young adult. In these situations, the body does not produce enough or no insulin at all.
- For Type II diabetes, the body resists insulin intake and as the body cannot absorb insulin, sugar will build up in the blood. This is sometimes considered a lifestyle disease because it is more common in people who lack exercise and a healthy lifestyle, and who are overweight.
- Gestational diabetes, as the name indicates, only happens to women when they are pregnant, more specifically, who are in the second trimester. There should not be any major cause of alarm as this type of diabetes will go away after the baby is born. However, close monitoring is still crucial during the pregnancy.
When one is diagnosed with diabetes, it can cause problems to the rest of the body, such as the eyes, nerves, kidney, heart and immune system. Here are some of the warning signs / pre-diabetes symptoms:
- Feeling constantly thirsty and hungry.
- Feeling lethargic and lack of energy.
- Sores/ wounds that do not heal.
- Bleeding gums each time after teeth brushing or flossing.
- Bad breath.
- Taste impairment. One study found that more than one-third of diabetes patients’ perception of taste were impaired, resulting in excessive eating (hyperphagia) and obesity.
- Gums recession, which will cause the teeth to look longer as well as teeth drifting apart from each other.
- Loose permanent teeth. Diabetic patients were missing an average of nearly 10 teeth as compared to non-diabetics. It is also found that diabetic patients are twice as likely to suffer from edentulism (completely without a set of teeth).
- Periodontal (gum) disease, red and / or swollen gums. Diabetic patients are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have lesser resistance against the bacteria that invade gums.
- Dry mouth (xerostomia), gland enlargement or infection, as a result of salivary gland dysfunction as salivary glands are affected when one has diabetes.
As you can see, many warning signs of diabetes are related to your mouth.
What is the dentists’ role for patients with diabetes?
Can diabetic patients undergo dental treatment?