Diabetes Oral Health: Complications and Suggestions

Gum disease is often closely associated with diabetes: Research suggests that people with the blood sugar condition are more likely to develop oral health problems, while gum disease can also affect blood glucose control.

Oral health may not be on the top of your list of priorities when you have diabetes, but untreated oral infections can lead to bone destruction around the teeth or even the necessity for tooth extraction.

Diabetes-related oral health problems

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetics are at an increased risk for serious gum disease (periodontitis) since they are more susceptible to bacterial infection in general. They also tend to have a decreased ability to fight bacteria in the gums, which can lead to problems like gingivitis (early gum disease). Left untreated, this can develop into a more serious problem.

Dry mouth, which can result from high blood sugar, can also cause oral health problems like soreness, infection, cavities and ulcers.

Thursh, a fungus-based infection in the mouth, is also associated with diabetes.

Complications that can arise

The ADA suggests that poorly controlled blood sugar levels can lead to serious gum disease and tooth loss in diabetics. Moreover, gum disease can also make diabetes harder to control if it's a factor that contributes to blood sugar spikes.

How to prevent problems

There are several ways to prevent oral health problems if you have diabetes, but the ADA says the most important thing is to control your blood glucose level.

Second, have regular dental checkups every six months and brush and floss your teeth daily.

Other ways to maintain good oral hygiene include smoking cessation and regular cleaning of retainers or dentures, if you wear them.

Source: American Diabetes Association

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