Diabetes type 2 symptoms: Tooth decay is linked to high blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes can lead to tooth decay – something you may not have thought was associated with high blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the blood can result in more sugar in the saliva, which is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The charity Diabetes UK explained the bacteria in the mouth then produces acid that attacks the tooth enamel and damages the gums. Blood vessels in the gums can also be targeted by the bacteria, causing infections.

The double-whammy is that gum disease and infections can then trigger even higher blood sugar levels, putting you more at risk of wider complications, such as heart disease.

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and infection of the soft tissue and bones that supports the teeth (periodontitis).

There may be issues with oral thrush, a dry mouth, tooth loss or abscesses.

Early signifiers of dental issues include redness, soreness, and bad breath.

Do pay attention if you have any of the early warning signs of type 2 diabetes.

This includes going to the toilet frequently, especially during the night, and feeling extremely thirsty.

Feelings of fatigue are common, while cuts and wounds may take longer to heal.

Losing weight without trying to is also a cause for concern, which requires medical attention.

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If you’re concerned you might have diabetes, but would like a definite answer, the best thing to do is to arrange a blood test via your doctor.

Do discuss your concerns, and any symptoms you might be experiencing, and the doctor can arrange for your blood sugar levels to be checked.

Your results may come back as “pre-diabetes”, meaning your blood sugar leaves are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes.

This does mean, however, that you’re at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

How to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

There are three main steps to reducing your risk of diabetes, which are:

  • Eating well
  • Moving more
  • Losing weight if you need to

A healthy diet

Eating well involves cutting out all energy and sugary, fizzy drinks from your diet.

This also means enjoying a cup of tea or coffee without adding any sugar to it, and avoiding fruit juices or smoothies.

Instead, the charity recommends drinking plain water, plain milk, and unsweetened tea and/or coffee.

To have a healthy diet, swap refined carbohydrates for wholegrains; Diabetes UK lists easy swaps, such as:

  • Swap white rice for brown rice
  • Swap white bread for brown bread

Choose whole-wheat pasta, flour, bread and oats, which will be noted on food labels.

Other healthy sources of carbohydrates include:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Lentils

You’ll also need to cut down on red, processed meats and opt for healthier protein.

Cut down on:

  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Sausages
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Lamb

Eat more of:

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Unsalted nuts

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