You know that diabetes causes health issues for people who suffer from it, but you may not realize it causes oral health problems as well.
With more than 37 million Americans having diabetes (that’s 11% of the population), you need to be aware of how the disease could affect your oral health or that of your loved ones.
Here at Portrait Dental in Katy, Texas, we regularly see the havoc diabetes can wreak on your oral health, so we’ve put together a few things you need to know on the topic.
How does diabetes affect your oral health?
Diabetes occurs when your body fails to properly control your blood sugar levels because it doesn’t produce enough insulin, which regulates your blood sugar. This can cause serious health issues throughout your body. Here’s how it can cause problems in your mouth.
Periodontal disease - Gingivitis and periodontitis occur when bacteria infect the gums. This becomes more likely when you have high blood sugar because uncontrolled diabetes weakens white blood cells, which are one of your body’s main defenses against oral bacterial infections.
This can lead to anything from mild cases that include increased sensitivity and a little bleeding to severe cases that could result in tooth loss and infection of the jawbone.
Dry mouth - Diabetes can lead to a reduced flow of saliva to your mouth, leaving it dry and less able to fight bacterial infections. Dry mouth can also lead to soreness, ulcers, and infections.
Thrush - This fungal infection thrives on the high level of glucose in the saliva of diabetics.This can cause painful and sore areas in your mouth.
Other complications from diabetes can include slower healing after oral surgery and a burning mouth or tongue.
How can diabetics prevent oral health problems?
Even if you are diabetic, you can take a few simple steps to dramatically lower the risk of any oral health issues.
The first and most important thing you can do is control your blood sugar as much as possible. Keeping your levels close to normal will help prevent the risks that come with high levels.
You should also see your dentist every six months or so for a regular cleaning and exam. This will keep your mouth healthy and give your dentist a chance to check for any issues.
Finally, maintain your own good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing at least twice a day. This will help destroy the bacteria in your mouth that can lead to so many problems, including tooth decay and gum disease.
If you have diabetes and you’re concerned it may be affecting your oral health, Dr. Minh Nguyen and the expert team at Portrait Dental will be glad to help you get back on the right track. Just call our office, or request an appointment online, and we’ll be in touch!