Health experts recognize that insulin-related diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, are a global epidemic. By the year 2020, it’s been estimated that 1 in 2 Americans will suffer with obesity, pre-diabetes, or diabetes (i). Although traditional medicine recognizes each of these diseases as separate, integrated medicine recognizes that they are each symptoms of a single underlying condition: an inability of the body to produce enough insulin.
In this article, we explore how insulin-related diseases can cause a rise in blood sugar levels that ultimately harms the holistic health of the body. We then examine how these conditions accelerate the development of gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, and undermine oral surgeries, like dental implants.
Obesity, Diabetes, and Diabesity
Faulty insulin production makes it very difficult for the metabolism to convert glucose into energy. As a result, men and women who suffer with an insulin condition may also experience weight gain. Because the conversion of glucose into energy is essential to maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), individuals with an insulin-related disease may also have a hard time losing weight. All of this leads to obesity.
As the body’s resistance to insulin increases, the next disease to develop is diabetes. At this stage, insulin production might shut down altogether, depending on the severity of the individual’s condition. Many diabetics must wear blood sugar monitors and administer insulin injections throughout the day, just to sustain normal body function.
The progression of insulin-related diseases has lead Dr. Mark Hyman to coin a new term to describe the pervasive problem faced by an estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide: diabesity (ii). As an integrated medical professional, Dr. Hyman believes such conditions may be treated by proactively making better lifestyle choices. This includes proper nutrition, exercise, and oral hygiene.
Diabesity and Oral Health
Individuals who suffer with obesity, type 1 diabetes, or type 2 diabetes all have one thing in common: It is difficult for their bodies to manage blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels rise, the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer all increase. High blood sugar levels also wreak havoc on the teeth and gums.
If plaque is not thoroughly removed from the gum line, it can irritate the gums and causes gingivitis. Insulin-related diseases, like diabesity, make is more difficult for the body to ward off bacterial infections, thus allowing gingivitis to develop and spread at a higher rate.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Gingivitis will eventually develop into periodontal disease, or gum disease, when left untreated. Individuals with diabesity often experience more severe gum disease, as insulin-related diseases make it extremely difficult for the body to resist infection and heal. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications,” (iii).
Tooth decay occurs when food debris and oral bacteria combine to create plaque, which sticks to the teeth and damages the enamel. An insulin-related disease can speed the process, adding more sugar and starches to the mouth because of naturally higher blood sugar levels.
Insulin-related diseases make it more difficult for the body to heal and recover from oral surgeries, like dental implant procedures. Moreover, high blood sugar levels after the procedure can make it more difficult for the implant to heal properly, which may compromise long-term function, strength, and integrity.
Holistic Care for Long Term Oral Health
If you or a loved one suffers with an insulin-related disease, it is vital that you find a holistic dentist who understands how blood sugar affects treatment, healing, and care. At Assure A Smile, lead dentist Dr. Ted Herrmann is experienced in holistic dentistry, nutrition, and integrated medicine. Patients are invited to learn more by visiting Dr. Herrmann’s profile online.
We invite South Florida residents to schedule an appointment to experience holistic dentistry firsthand. Readers are also invited to speak with a friendly member of our front desk by calling 305-274-0047.
(i) Hyman, Mark M.D. “The Blood Sugar Solution.” Pg. 7.
(ii) See above.