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A diferença entre meditação consciente e meditação de relaxamento   O vídeo clipe do Mingyur Rinpoche abaixo é sobre a meditação e como ela pode melhorar a vida no dia a dia. Não deixe-se enganar pela simples mensagem do vídeo. Na verdade é uma introdução a um universo complexo - o poder transfarmativo da meditação consciente.   […] Read More


The difference between mindfulness meditation and relaxation meditation   The video clip bellow by Mingyur Rinpoche is about meditation and how it can improve your daily life. The video is quite simple but is just an intro to a huge world - mindfulness meditation. But before we delve into it, there is a distinction to […] Read More

Death and Dying and the Role of a Hospice Nurse

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  Everybody dies and dying is part of life. And the only sure thing in this world is that one day - we're all going to die. Even though dying is inevitable most of us have a hard time accepting our unavoidable destination. Dying is painful for some, but hospices can help by providing comfort measures that […] Read More

Here’s How to Get Started With Your Big Life

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  If you are confused about your future you've clicked at the right page. I am you from the future, and this page is a message to you in the past. Don't believe? Read on... Have you ever seen the movie trilogy "Back to the Future" if you did, remember the scene when Biff gives himself […] Read More

Changing Diet to Treat Diabetes Can be More Fun Then you Think

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But in order to change your diet permanently you must start with baby steps   I became aware of how dangerous diabetes can be by caring for patients every day and seeing their complications first hand. I witness how diabetes spins out of control over time and problems just pile up. Diabetes is a slow […] Read More

If Trump Doesn’t Pay any Taxes Why Should we?


  I just can't get over this white elephant. And I mean it is huge. To have integrity and pay their fair share is the pillar that support Americans and how they see themselves as people of a free world. I remember hearing in the past: "In this country you can get away with murder […] Read More

The Trump Era Could Bring True Political Awakening

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  Everyone is scared as we enter the uncharted waters of Trump. A new era has begun and its a terrifying one - but fear is good. We should be thankful that Trump continues his abhorrent behavior. We should rejoice every time he double down on his aggressive ideas. There are few moments in history […] Read More


Corporate health care is not helpful to nurses and patients are the biggest losers   Nursing is a stressful profession. Nurses manage life and death situations; body fluids; deadly bacteria and viruses. They experience aggression from patients; threats of being sued; insane long hours and insane patient loads; lack of sleep and no time to eat or use […] Read More


  Donald Trump hate and divisiveness is a test; and if it doesn't shatter everyone to smithereens' we might actually end up in a better place. We can turn this whole ordeal into an opportunity and improve ourselves in the process, and how is that for being positive? Like a bitter medicine, we brought Trump upon ourselves. People have a certain fascination with royalties. Trump is pure American […] Read More

Unstable blood sugar and oral health

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  I think many people would agree with me when I say a healthy smile is something sought-after and admired. But it isn’t this way simply for superficial reasons, of course! Keeping up with good oral care helps prevent serious problems that can occur in our mouths, perhaps even affecting our overall health. As a […] Read More

Unstable blood sugar and oral health: How diabetes causes mayhem in the mouth


I think many people would agree with me when I say a healthy smile is something sought-after and admired. But it isn’t this way simply for superficial reasons, of course! Keeping up with good oral care helps prevent serious problems that can occur in our mouths, perhaps even affecting our overall health.

As a dental hygienist, it’s my job to recognize the signs of complications involving your teeth and gums. But when I see patients who have diabetes I have to be on my A-game, for sure. This is because diabetes is known to cause higher risk of many dental and oral issues. So what’s with all the dental side effects of diabetes and what can we do to counteract them? Well, that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about here!

High blood glucose levels ruin your mouth’s main protection system

When diabetes is not controlled (in other words, when a person with diabetes doesn’t make adjustments to keep his or her blood sugar as stable as possible), it can mean big trouble for the body’s defense against oral infections. First of all, if the blood glucose levels are frequently elevated, the body’s white blood cells become impaired.

These blood cells are supposed to be the ringleaders in your body’s defense against bacterial infections in the mouth. So, if an oral infection occurs and isn’t treated right away it can become very serious problem. In fact, many people with diabetes have to be hospitalized for acute infections because the infections themselves can make the disease harder to manage. The symptoms of diabetes become more out of control, so to speak, which can be quite dangerous.

A fungal infection in the mouth is more common in people with diabetes

One particular kind of oral infection that I have to be on the look out for in my patients with diabetes is called thrush. This is a fungal infection usually caused by antibiotics meant to fight various infections in those with diabetes. It’s pretty tough luck when the medicine you’re taking to prevent infection actually causes another, but unfortunately it happens.

The main thing is that the fungus from thrush flourishes on the increased levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. So if you try to keep your glucose levels in check you’ll probably be okay. If you don’t, you’ll definitely be more susceptible to the infection, which can lead to a white, sometimes painful, lesions in the mouth as well as a burning mouth and tongue sensation. In addition, smoking increases the risk for thrush quite a bit too.

Dry mouth is a primary cause of oral complications and it’s incredibly common in people with diabetes

High blood sugar does not only render important white blood cells impaired, it also causes dehydration of the mouth, or dry mouth. Dry mouth is most basically a lack of saliva, but don’t let its simplicity fool you. It can be rather detrimental to your oral health. Everyone needs a decent amount of saliva in order for the mouth to be healthy. This is because saliva cleanses the mouth by washing away bacteria from food. Saliva also neutralizes the acids present in our mouths that try to eat away at our teeth.

When not enough saliva is present, the bacteria in your mouth are going to be able to multiply and feast on your oral tissues. Over time dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, sores, and infections. And aside from that, it probably should be noted that any oral wounds will heal a lot more slowly in a person with diabetes because of reduced blood circulation from thickened blood vessels. It’s a bummer, but it is the reality.

How to maintain good oral heath with diabetes

The best advice I can give to people with diabetes who want to avoid dental or oral problems I’ve narrowed down to three main things:

  1. Keep up with good, consistent oral hygiene — brush your teeth after meals, floss daily, drink and rinse your mouth with water regularly and use saliva replacement products if needed for dry mouth.
  2. Always try your best to control your blood sugar — take any needed medication, follow a healthy exercise and diet plan, and monitor yourself carefully.
  3. See your dentist twice a year (or more often if your doctor feels it’s necessary) Make routine cleanings and check ups a priority since dental professionals can identify impending problems and help you before they become severe.

Remember, just because having diabetes means you’re predisposed to oral complications doesn’t mean you can’t fight it! Just like I tell all my patients, taking steps to support your oral health will make a huge difference, for sure!

About the author: Erin Stelbrink is a Registered Dental Hygienist with 5+ years of experience as a licensed hygienist and oral health care professional. She holds a passion for researching the latest technologies and methods for providing valuable health care service and clinical treatment. Aside from clinical work, Erin serves as a product researcher and journalist for Smile Brilliant, a company providing professional teeth whitening from home and cavity prevention products. Have more questions or wish to read more of Erin’s articles? Email her at erin@smilebrilliant.com or find more of her work on the Smile Brilliant Blog

Image credit: flickr.com

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