People with diabetes are more likely to have oral health complications. This is because people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with blood sugar control, which can affect the flow of saliva and bacteria in the mouth.
What is Diabetes?
In a healthy body, the body breaks down sugar with insulin and uses it for energy or stores it as fat. Patients with diabetes either aren’t producing enough insulin, are resistant to insulin, or both. When an individual has diabetes, the body is unable to process sugar properly, causing it to build up in the bloodstream as excess glucose (glycemia). This increases a patient’s risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke. The complications of diabetes can include weight loss, skin ulcers, fatigue, high blood pressure, and more.
High levels of blood glucose can also affect your oral health by damaging the blood vessels that supply your teeth and gums. This can lead to gum inflammation and infection. Left untreated, gum disease can cause your teeth to fall out. It can also increase your body’s risk of infection, cardiovascular disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. For these reasons, it’s important for patients with diabetes to keep both their blood sugar and oral health under control.
Diabetes and Oral Health
People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease, cavities, dry mouth, thrush, or burning mouth syndrome. However, there are several ways to manage your oral health when you have diabetes.
- Brushing and flossing at least twice a day can help remove plaque from your teeth. This can help prevent tooth decay and gum problems. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush for the best results.
- Regular visits to the dentist can also help keep your mouth healthy. They can help you stay on top of your oral care routine and offer professional advice when needed.
- Talk to your dentist about using prescription mouthwashes to fight bacteria in your mouth.
- Diabetics are also more likely to get fungal infections in the mouth. Some symptoms of this include white patches on the tongue and difficulty swallowing. This is treatable with antifungal medications.
- If you have diabetic neuropathy, you may not be able to feel any changes to oral tissues until your gums are already infected. It is important to check your gums regularly so you notice any changes early.
- For food that has a lot of sugar in it, eat those in moderation. You should also avoid foods that are sour, salty, spicy, or highly pigmented. These foods can cause acid erosions in your tooth enamel.
- Smoking cigarettes can also cause tooth discoloration, gum disease and increase your risk of oral cancer.
- If you wear dentures, be sure to take them off at night and clean them to get rid of any debris. Try to avoid wearing them for too long during the day, as this can increase problems with bone loss and sores.
Please schedule an appointment online or call us at (760) 433-9255 to have a consultation with us, and we will be happy to assist you further.