6 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Dental Health

Diabetes is a serious health condition that can affect almost every part of your body, including your teeth and gums. But unfortunately, many people with diabetes don’t even pay attention to their dental health since they don’t know how this disease can influence their teeth. If you suffer from Type I or Type II diabetes, it’s essential to monitor your oral health. Let’s look at 6 common adverse effects of uncontrolled diabetes on oral health: 

1. Diabetes can provoke oral thrush 

Oral thrush, or candidiasis, is a yeast infection that’s accompanied by white patches, redness, bleeding in the mouth, and cracks at the corners of the lips. You might also experience a bitter, nasty taste. Those who have oral thrush can pass it onto someone else, therefore it’s crucial to treat this condition so that others avoid experiencing these unpleasant symptoms.

Oral thrush often occurs in people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels and in those who have dry mouth. While occasional episodes of thrush are common among healthy people, it’s better to avoid this infection. If you often experience oral thrush, you need to consult your dentist and primary care physician. 

2. Diabetes can cause bad breath 

Bad breath can either be a sign of infection like tooth decay and gingivitis or it can stem from diabetes-related dry mouth. 

3. Diabetes can worsen periodontitis  

Advanced stages of gum disease, also known as periodontitis, can negatively impact the structures that support your teeth, including gums and bones. Over time, periodontitis can make your blood sugar levels rise resulting in tooth loss.  

It’s important to note that periodontitis is a serious disease, and since people with diabetes already experience difficulty healing from infections, you should take care of inflamed gums before gingivitis turns into periodontitis. 

4. Diabetes may result in burning mouth syndrome 

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is also common in people with diabetes, and dry mouth might accompany this condition. This syndrome is more common in people over the age of 60 and women develop it more frequently than men.

This condition is characterized by a burning, tingling, or painful sensation in the mouth. Your doctor will examine your mouth and medical history but other tests might be necessary including: 

  • Blood tests
  • Oral swabs
  • Allergy tests
  • Salivary flow tests

5. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease 

The risk of gum disease is higher for people with uncontrolled diabetes since the condition can weaken your immune system and affect your body’s ability to fight off bad bacteria that form plaque. Plaque sneaks under your gum line resulting in tartar. In the early stages of gum disease, you might experience swollen and bleeding gums.

If you stick to good oral hygiene that is brush and floss twice a day, you might be able to reduce the side effects of gum disease. Proper oral hygiene is especially important for people with diabetes as they are already predisposed to gum disease due to their medical condition.

6. Diabetes contributes to dry mouth syndrome 

Diabetes can provoke dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia) as well. Your saliva is vital for your dental health since it keeps harmful germs at bay. A shortage of it can raise your risk of tooth decay. This health condition can develop as a result of either Type I or Type II diabetes and treating dry mouth before it contributes to tooth decay is important. 

You might be able to treat dry mouth syndrome with a number of solutions, for example, drinking plenty of water or chewing gum and hard candies to increase saliva production. 

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