It's almost impossible to completely eliminate sugar from your diet. You can certainly limit how much you eat, but if you enjoy too much sugar, can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar? The answer is complicated, but diets and lifestyles can lead to this disease. Read on to learn more about the condition, its effect on oral health, and what you can do to prevent and manage diabetes.
What Is Diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association, carbohydrates increase blood glucose levels, not sugar. Type 2 diabetes is directly related to being overweight, the biggest risk factor of diabetes, and obesity results from eating calories from any food source.
Don't confuse the two kinds of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic disease where the body doesn't produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes, the more common form, also known as adult-onset, occurs when the body doesn't use insulin properly, leading to insulin resistance. Even if the pancreas tries to increase production, eventually it can't control blood sugar levels.
Diabetes and Your Mouth
What does this condition mean for oral health? It has long been recognized that a diet high in carbohydrates feeds cavity-forming bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria also form acids that break down the enamel and other tooth structures, resulting in decay. But did you know if you have diabetes you are at a higher risk for gum problems, including periodontitis and other infections?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, high blood glucose levels influence the severity of gum disease. There is more sugar present in a diabetic's saliva compared to the average healthy person. This sugar in the saliva promotes the growth of bacteria that then forms plaque. Additionally, gum disease may make it more difficult to control blood sugar.
What should you do if you're diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes? Of course, follow your doctor's instructions for medications and lifestyle changes. Then be certain to tell your dentist and dental hygienist about your diagnosis. They can use this information to recommend an oral hygiene routine and an appropriate schedule for checkups.
Prevention and Management
According to the American Diabetes Association, there are many ways to manage or even avoid Type 2 diabetes. One of the most important steps is managing your weight by eating a balanced diet that includes foods with a low glycemic index (GI), like lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Avoiding foods with a high GI like sweets, snack foods and soda is recommended. It may take some effort, but these changes will help control your blood sugar and help to keep you and your family healthier.
What about your mouth? The three main ways to avoid gum disease are brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly. Your dentist may recommend seeing your dental hygienist more frequently for dental cleanings, perhaps three to four times a year. Your dental hygienist will evaluate your gum and overall oral health and provide tips for a healthy mouth, including brushing with a toothpaste like Colgate Total Advanced Deep Clean. This toothpaste helps maintain a dentist-clean feeling with advanced-cleaning silica similar to what dentists use.
Can you get diabetes from eating too much sugar? The answer is maybe, but why risk it? Leading a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, eating well, and regular medical and dental care may help you avoid the diagnosis. A healthy lifestyle translates to a healthy body, mouth and smile that will last a lifetime!