The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Posted by Jami Thurber DDS Apr 25, 2023

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People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from other health issues. Complications in diabetes can lead to oral problems. However, proper dental care can help protect your teeth and gums.

Diabetes and Oral Health

In diabetes, the body’s immune system begins to attack healthy body tissue, including gum tissue. When tissues become inflamed, it can lead to tooth loss and severe gum disease. This can result in compromised chewing function, which may also affect digestion. Diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar are more likely to develop infections of the gums or periodontal disease. These diseases can lead to serious health complications.

Maintaining good oral hygiene habits can help prevent infection. Brushing and flossing twice a day and cleaning between the teeth daily can prevent bacteria buildup that can lead to inflammation. If you have diabetes and notice signs of oral disease, contact our office right away for professional dental treatments and recommendations.

Oral Health Complications from Diabetes

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing oral health problems such as gum disease, dry mouth, thrush, fungal infections, and even oral cancer. This is because people with diabetes tend to have a reduced flow of saliva. Saliva helps to neutralize acids in the mouth and control bacteria growth, so a reduction in saliva flow can increase the risk of tooth decay and oral infections. People who use insulin are also more likely to contract fungal infections such as thrush or yeast overgrowth. These issues should be discussed with your dentist to help prevent the worsening of the condition, and proper treatment can be administered to prevent further damage.

Often, the first sign of gum disease is bleeding gums. Unfortunately, this symptom is often overlooked by patients with diabetes. If you are experiencing other diabetes-related symptoms in addition to bleeding gums, be sure to call your dentist right away to schedule an appointment. For patients whose gum disease has progressed to an advanced stage, treatment may be more complex and require frequent visits to the dentist’s office.

In addition to having a higher level of risk for developing gum disease, diabetic patients are also more likely to experience dry mouth. A dry mouth can cause a host of oral health problems, from bad breath to an unsightly buildup of plaque in teeth. Like anything else related to oral health, the best treatment for dry mouth is prevention. If you smoke or use chewing tobacco, quitting can help reduce the risk of dry mouth and help prevent further complications. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help keep your mouth moist and prevent symptoms of dry mouth.

Dr. James Thurber DDS, located in Lubbock, TX, has modern amenities and the latest technologies that enable the best dental care facilities for patients. Call us at (806) 745-6644 and book a consultation with the dentist. 

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