Diabetes and the link to oral health problems

Having diabetes means that you can be at risk of more dental problems if you do not take care. This can be oral problems, such as, gum disease. Which can also be called periodontal disease.

Here, we help you understand why you may be at risk, and how to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

The risks of Diabetes and gum disease

Gum disease is very common. A lot of people will get it at least once in their life. But when you have diabetes, you are very likely to be more at risk.

People with type 2 Diabetes are around three times more likely to develop dental problems than people who don’t have diabetes. People with Diabetes 1 can also be at risk.

What is the reason for this?

High blood sugar levels for a long period of time, is a very common cause as too much sugar in your blood can lead to more sugar in your saliva, which is a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria produces more acid which attacks tooth enamel and damages gums.

High blood sugar levels are also very harmful to the blood vessels in your gums which makes them more likely to get infected.

Be aware, that Gum disease and infection is likely to have an increase in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to further complications such as, heart disease.

Taking good care of your teeth and gums, needs be a basic part in how you manage your diabetes. You can prevent these potential complications or spot them early enough to get the right treatment from your dentist. Keep your mouth healthy and regularly check your blood sugars by keeping to your target range.

Diabetes and Oral health problems.
Oral problems linked to your diabetes could mean:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gingivitis (gum inflammation)
  • Infection in soft tissue and bone that support the teeth (periodontitis)
  • Dry mouth (xerostomia)
  • Fungal infections (oral thrush)
  • Sore mouth and some irritation. Potential difficulty in wearing dentures
  • Tooth loss
  • Abscesses

Some earlier signs of oral health problems are things like redness, soreness and bad breath. If you notice any of these, please do not ignore them, make an appointment with your dentist. Getting the right treatment early will help prevent severe infections, tooth loss and other complications in the future.

Importance of keeping your mouth healthy;

  • Regularly check your blood sugars and keep them in your target range

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day - keep the plaque off by brushing your teeth regularly and add flossing

  • See your dentist - book regular check-ups

  • Choose the right food and drink - follow a balanced and healthy diet that is low in sugars

  • Do not smoke - smoking does weaken your immune system, which makes it harder for you to fight gum infection. Also, when you have gum disease, smoking makes it harder for your gums to heal

  • Keep your dentures clean - if you wear them, clean them regularly as a build-up of bacteria can lead to oral thrush

Please contact your diabetes healthcare team for more advice if you need it. Alternatively, you can call us for Dental advice on 01423 322 757

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