Diabetes is linked to dental problems

  • Jan 16 , 2017

People for whom diabetes is not controlled well are at a high risk of dental problems. Infections of the gums and bones which hold teeth in place are also high for such persons. This is because diabetes dramatically brings down the blood supply to gums. When blood sugar is high, a dry mouth can happen, which is capable of making the gum disease worse.

Saliva is an antiseptic solution within the mouth. It protects teeth against bacteria as well. Consequently, less saliva can cause a number of tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque formation within the mouth.

Get in touch with your dentist if you have the following problems:

  • Frequent mouth infections
  • Sore or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath that refuses to go away 
  • Two-way relationship

People with diabetes are naturally susceptible to major gum diseases, but gum diseases also have the potential to affect blood glucose levels and aggravate the level of diabetes. Diabetes can lead to gingivitis (early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (severe stage of gum disease). Such persons have a reduced ability to fight bacterial infections which invade the gums.

How can plaque affect the mouth?

Plaque hardens into tartar if it is not removed regularly, and accumulates above the gums. Cleaning and brushing between the teeth become difficult due to tartar. Gums become swollen, redden easily and start bleeding, which eventually leads to gingivitis.

When gingivitis is not treated, it advances towards periodontitis. In this case, the gums move away from the teeth and create spaces known as pockets, which also gather infection. Such an infection is likely to last for quite some time. The body tries to fight these bacteria, as it grows below the gum line and plaque spreads. When periodontitis is not treated, it will affect bones, gums and the tissues around. Teeth can soon become so weak and loose that they have to be eventually removed.

Photo Courtesy: Oral Answers

Other oral problems:

  • There can be other problems associated with diabetes. These include thrush, which is a fungal infection of the mouth and a dry mouth, which is likely to cause ulcers, soreness and cavities.
  • Make sure you keep the dentist informed about your blood sugar levels and diabetes. People with diabetes always have special requirements, and the dentist will be aware of the same. In case of any changes in the dental conditions or change in the diabetes medication, keep your dentist informed at all times. Emergency dental procedures, if any, need to be postponed due to high blood sugar.
  • Keeping the mouth healthy
  • It is clear that maintaining oral hygiene can often turn out to be a major challenge. The following steps can be taken:
  • Brush and floss with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Make use of antiseptic mouthwash
  • The technique of brushing also matters here. Try to use soft toothbrushes as far as possible and proceed in small, circular motions
  • Follow the healthy meal plan that has been worked out with your doctor or dietician
  • Get anti-plaque of antigingivitis mouth rinse from your dentist for preventing gum diseases
  • In case you wear dentures, ensure that they are kept clean. Take them out at night
  • Ensure that you inform your dentist about diabetes and your medications
  • Stop smoking