Diabetes and oral health problems

Many people who have diabetes would be surprised to learn that more severe gum disease, called periodontitis, is one of the complications attributed to diabetes. Numerous studies show that people with diabetes have a higher incidence of gum disease. People with diabetes are not only more susceptible to advanced gum disease, but it can affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

Studies indicate that people with diabetes are at increased risk for oral health problems such as gingivitis (early gum disease) and periodontitis (advanced gum disease). People with diabetes are at increased risk for periodontitis because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infections and have less ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.

If I have diabetes, am I at greater risk of dental problems?

If your blood glucose level is not well controlled, you are more likely to have gum disease and lose more teeth than people without diabetes. As with all infections, advanced gum disease can be a factor in causing glucose spikes and making it difficult to control diabetes.

Other oral problems related to diabetes can include candidiasis, an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth, which can cause pain, ulcers, infections and cavities.

How can I prevent dental problems related to diabetes?

First, monitor your blood glucose level. Then, take good care of your teeth and gums, and it is advisable to have them checked every six months. Good glucose control can also help prevent or alleviate dry mouth caused by diabetes. Keep your dentist informed of any changes in your health status and if you are taking any medications. Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if you do not have good glucose control.

 

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