Diabetes Link To Oral Health Problems

diabetes link to oral health problems

10 Oral Problems & Solutions

The diabetes link to oral health problems is double jeopardy. First, people with diabetes are more susceptible to serious gum disease. Second, serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control which worsens diabetes. Consequently, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Because they are less able to fight bacteria that attack the gums.

Other oral problems associated with diabetes include thrush, an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth. Likewise, dry mouth can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and cavities.

Diabetes link to oral health problems examines the most common mouth problems people with diabetes are prone to. These are oral infections, fungal infections, poor healing, and dry mouth.

Oral infections

diabetes link to oral health problems

An oral infection is a cluster of germs causing problems in one area of your mouth. Here are some warning signs.

  • Swelling or pus around your teeth or gums or any place in your mouth. Swelling can be large, or as small as a pimple.
  • Pain in the mouth or sinus area that does not go away.
  • White or red patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks, or the roof of your mouth.
  • Pain when chewing.
  • Teeth that hurt when you eat something cold, hot, or sweet, or when you chew.
  • Dark spots or holes in your teeth.

Infections can make your blood sugar hard to control. But by planning ahead and discussing a plan of action with your dentist and doctor, you will be prepared to handle needed adjustments.

Fungal infections

Having diabetes means you are more prone to fungal infections such as thrush. If you tend to have high blood sugar levels or take antibiotics often, you are even more likely to have this problem. Thrush makes white or red patches in areas of your mouth. These can get sore or turn into ulcers.

Thrush likes moist spots that may be chafed or sore, for example, under poorly fitting dentures. Smoking and wearing dentures all day and night can increase the risk of thrush. However, quitting smoking and reducing the hours that dentures are worn can reduce the risk of getting thrush. If you think you have a fungal infection, talk to your dentist or doctor.

Poor Healing

If your diabetes is poorly controlled, your healing is slow. This increases your chance of infection after dental surgery. So, in order to give yourself the best healing chances, keep your blood sugar under control before, during, and after surgery.

Dry Mouth

Some people with diabetes complain of dry mouth. This may be caused by the medicines you take. Or you may notice a dry mouth if your blood sugar levels are high. A dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities because there is less saliva to wash away germs and acids created. In addition, a dry mouth can sometimes lead to other problems, such as salivary gland infections.

If you have a dry mouth, try drinking more fluids. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sugar-free candy to help keep the saliva flowing. You may also want to try saliva substitutes available at drug stores.

The three main steps in fighting diabetes-related dental problems are brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Brushing and flossing

The goal of your daily tooth brushing and flossing is to clean away plaque. When plaque stays put, it hardens into tartar which then deposits under the gum line. The consequence of plaque and tartar not being cleaned away is bleeding gums even with gentle brushing. This condition is called gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease which you can fight with daily good brushing and flossing habits.

And if you wear dentures, remove and clean them every day.

Control your blood glucose level

First and foremost, it is important to take proper control of your blood glucose level in order to prevent thrush and dry mouth.

Keep regular dental checkups

diabetes link to oral health problems

Take good care of your teeth and gums, along with regular checkups every six months. Furthermore, keep your dentist and hygienist informed of any changes in your condition and medication. And whenever your blood sugar is not in good shape, postpone any non-emergency dental procedures.

Bottom Line

The dangerous diabetes link to oral health problems means you have to keep your teeth and mouth healthy regularly. And this requires your doctor and dentist’s support. However, you are the most important person to do the day-to-day mouth care. Therefore, if you have questions or concerns, talk to them. Do not forget that good dental health can create a healthy mouth, a disease-free body, and a smile that will last a lifetime.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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