Living With Diabetes: Teeth and Gum Problems to be Aware of

Living With Diabetes: Teeth and Gum Problems to be Aware of

Posted by Dr. Lee on Sep 13 2021, 05:54 AM

Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes, is a metabolic disease that results in high blood sugar. The condition affects the body's capacity to use glucose, or blood sugar, for energy. 

Several complications are associated with diabetes, like nerve damage, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and even blindness. Diabetes also affects our oral health and leads to gum disease and other oral health issues. 

Let's have a look at the teeth and gum problems to be aware of if you have diabetes:

Tooth decay and cavities:Since the bacteria present in the mouth feed on starch and sugar and develop plaque, diabetic people are at an increased risk of developing tooth decay due to high blood and saliva glucose levels.

Early gum disease (gingivitis):As per the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing gum problems and infections. This is because diabetes impacts the body's ability to fight off gum infection-causing bacteria. If you don't follow a good oral care regimen, this can cause the accumulation of dental plaque and tartar on teeth and beneath the gum line. When plaque and tartar are allowed to remain on the teeth for long, they irritate the gums around the teeth and cause swelling and bleeding of gums. This condition is known as gingivitis.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis): If gum disease is left untreated for long, periodontitis, a more serious form of gum infection, can develop. Periodontitis can destroy the bone and soft tissue that support the teeth and pull them away from the teeth. This, in turn, can lead to the loosening and eventual falling out of the tooth. Since diabetes slows our body's healing power and lowers our ability to fight infection, an infection like periodontitis can become more severe. Besides, periodontitis can increase the blood sugar level and make diabetes difficult to control. 

Thrush:Thrush is a fungal infection that develops inside the mouth by the Candida albicans yeast. Diabetic People are more likely to develop thrush. Its symptoms include painful patches inside the mouth. 

Dry mouth (xerostomia):  Diabetes can lead to dry mouth, a condition marked by a lack of saliva, and increase the risk of tooth decay, cavities, thrush, mouth ulcers, soreness, and gum disease.

Oral Care For Diabetes Patients

1. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice and floss once per day. 

2. Manage your food intake - avoid foods that are high in sugar and starch.

3. Inform your dentist about diabetes so that you receive the best care possible that suits your needs. 

4. Schedule regular dental visits to watch for new concerns in the mouth related to diabetes.

Practice dental and diabetes care in tandem to combat oral health complications associated with diabetes. 

For more tips and comprehensive dental care, visit East Burn Dentistry at 1415 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214. Call us at  503-233-4871 for appointments.

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