Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Posted in Advice

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

It’s common to experience cavities, gum disease and other oral health problems when you have diabetes. Your risk grows even more if you’re over 50 and suffer from diabetes, which is why it’s important that you visit your dentist regularly. It’s possible to have good oral health while also having diabetes, but here are the key oral health issues you should be on the lookout for.

Gingivitis


Among common oral health concerns for diabetics, gingivitis is at the top of the list. This is the first stage of gum disease, occurring when bacteria causes the gums to bleed, swell and turn red. Because there’s more sugar in the saliva of diabetics compared to non-diabetics, the bacteria that feed on sugar are more likely to cause damage in the form of tooth decay. Regular brushing and flossing help to fight against gingivitis.

Periodontitis


Periodontitis is what occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. It’s a severe type of gum disease that can erode the bone and tissue keeping your teeth in place, leading to tooth loss in some cases. Again, flossing and brushing your teeth regularly will help to prevent periodontitis from happening. However, once it does happen, it’s irreversible and gum surgery might be the only solution that will save your teeth.

Dry Mouth


A combination of old age and diabetes will slow your production of saliva, leaving you at risk for dry mouth. Not only does saliva wash away bacteria lingering in your mouth, but it also produces enzymes that attack those bacteria as well. This lack of saliva will result in more bacteria festering in your mouth, leading to gum disease, tooth decay, sore and other oral health problems.

Infection


Fungi is another organism that’s attracted to the sugar in your mouth, which is why fungal yeast infections are common for diabetics. Also known as thrush, this infection can cause red or white patches on the insides of your cheeks and tongue. You’re more likely to get thrush if you smoke, wear dentures or take antibiotics.

Burning Mouth Syndrome


Experience dry mouth and thrush at the same time can lead to burning mouth syndrome, as can certain medications. The sensation of burning mouth syndrome is similar to burning your mouth with coffee. It might even lead you to lose your ability to taste foods. While it’s not harmful, losing your ability to taste anything doesn’t sound nice.

Slow Wound Healing


A byproduct of ageing and having diabetes is the slow healing process that occurs for wounds and infections. As well, your risk for infection increases, as there’s more time for bacteria to make the situation worse.


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