People afflicted with serious illness face multiple complications. For example people suffering from diabetes know that the disease can harm the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. But did you know diabetes can also cause problems in your mouth?

Yes, people suffering from diabetes have a higher chance of having periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to pain, persistent bad breath, difficulties in chewing, and even tooth loss. Diabetes can also slow down the healing process after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be damaged, so it can interfere with treatment of periodontal disease.

The link between diabetes and oral health problems is high blood sugar. If blood sugar isn’t well managed, oral health problems are more likely to develop. This is because unmanaged diabetes weakens white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.

Apart from this diabetes can also cause other problems diabetes like dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush, which causes painful white patches in the mouth. One experiences dry mouth one does not have enough saliva—the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. In turn dry mouth can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. If one smokes these problems are further compounded. In addition, diabetes may also cause the level of sugar (glucose) in your saliva to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which in turn can lead to burning mouth and or tongue.

Other than that diabetes can lead to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and periodontitis. Besides weakening white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken. This slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events, the body loses its ability to fight infections. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, people with unmanaged diabetes might experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.

People with diabetes lose their teeth more often and sooner than people without diabetes.

Therefore, good oral hygiene practices are vital, while paying special attention to any changes in your oral health, and consult a dentist immediately if such changes occur. Suggestions to prevent or reduce oral health problems include:

  • Keeping your blood sugar to normal levels. For instance, know your glycosylated hemoglobin (HgA1C) level. (Good management is indicated by a level under 7%). If you’ve had an episode of low blood sugar (also called an insulin reaction) in the past, you are at increased risk to have another one. Tell your dentist when your last episode was, how frequently such episodes occur, and when you took your last dose of insulin (if you are on insulin).
  • See your doctor before scheduling treatment for periodontal disease. Ask your doctor to talk to your dentist or periodontist about your overall health condition If oral surgery is planned, your doctor or dentist will tell you if you need to take any pre-surgical antibiotics, if you need to change your meal schedule or the timing and dosage of your insulin (if you take insulin).
  • Share with your dentist a list of all the names and dosages of all medicines you are taking. If a major infection is being treated, your insulin dose (for those taking insulin) might need to be adjusted.
  • Postpone nonemergency dental procedures if your blood sugar isn’t well managed. However, acute infections (infections that develop quickly), such as abscesses, should be treated right away.
  • Keep in mind that healing might take longer in people with diabetes. Follow your dentist’s post-treatment instructions closely.
  • Call your orthodontist immediately if a wire or bracket (such as those in braces) cuts your tongue or mouth.
Other oral hygiene tips for people with diabetes:

  • Have your teeth and gums cleaned and checked by your dentist at least twice a year. Talk to your dentist to determine how often you will need checkups.
  • Prevent plaque buildup on teeth by using dental floss at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Brush twice a day and floss regularly.
  • Tell your dentist if your dentures do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit.

2023-03-19T07:42:43Z dg43tfdfdgfd