Whether you have Type I or Type II Diabetes, it is a disease that requires constant monitoring of the entire body, including the eyes, nerves, and even your teeth. When you have diabetes, you’re at an increased risk for periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, which can lead to tooth decay or even tooth loss in more advanced stages. In the beginning stages of gum disease, symptoms for diabetic patients could be as simple as sore, tender gums or bad breath. It’s essential to let your dentist know if you are diabetic and what medications you are taking. It’s also important to see your dentist if you’re experiencing any problems since these could be the first sign of undiagnosed diabetes.
It’s thought that diabetic patients are at a higher risk for gum disease because if blood glucose is not well controlled, that means there’s a lot of glucose in the saliva. You may notice that here on the blog for Chauvin Dental, we talk a lot about why you should restrict sugar intake, and that’s for good reason: sugar is the main enemy in the war against dental decay! When your blood glucose level is not kept in check, that gives harmful bacteria in your mouth the perfect environment in which to flourish.
At the same time your blood glucose level affects your oral health, there is the simple fact that having gum disease or oral infections can cause your blood sugar to rise, which is not desirable for diabetics. Thus, controlling blood sugar and keeping watch over your oral health are important because the consequences flow both ways.
Infections in diabetic patients can be more severe because the immune system is weakened.
Other potential oral issues experienced by diabetic individuals include:
- Fungal infections in the mouth, or thrush, characterized by sore patches in the mouth
- Dry mouth
- Burning sensation
The best way to prevent any oral health issues is to control your blood glucose levels. Work with your primary care physician to determine your blood sugar target and a plan to achieve it. If you are a smoker, consider quitting to lessen your risk of health complications. Maintain proper oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing once a day. Ask your dentist how often you should be coming in for checkups and come in sooner if you’re experiencing pain or having a dental emergency.