People with diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum disease and tooth decay. This is because diabetes affects the body's ability to create saliva. Saliva is the body's natural defense against tooth decay. When there is not enough saliva to wash away food debris, plaque builds up on the teeth. Plaque and tartar contain bacteria that can damage the gums and eventually lead to gum disease.
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin, a hormone that helps the body control its blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood, while type 2 can develop at any age. Both types affect the way the body metabolizes sugar for fuel, which can lead to a variety of complications.
People who have diabetes may be at an increased risk for developing oral health issues. This can be especially true for those who have poorly controlled diabetes, as they may experience more frequent and severe oral health issues than those who keep their blood glucose levels under control. Some of the oral complications of diabetes may include dry mouth, fungal infections, thrush, gum disease, bleeding gums, tooth decay, and bad breath.
A dry mouth may occur as a result of changes in the way that saliva is produced in the mouth of a person with diabetes. This is because the salivary glands may become less active due to changes in the body's chemistry caused by the disease. Additionally, high glucose levels in the saliva can cause bacteria to grow more readily and may damage the tooth enamel. This can lead to the development of cavities or infections inside the mouth.
In addition to affecting a person's mouth, diabetes may also affect the body's ability to heal. This can make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels and also helps them to heal from infections that may develop on or around their teeth. This may leave them more likely to experience complications such as gum disease and tooth loss.
Some people who have diabetes may notice that they develop sores along or inside their mouth. These sores are often caused by a fungal infection known as thrush. This can occur because the fungus grows very well in moist areas in the body, such as the oral cavity, especially when blood glucose is not well-controlled. Thrush can lead to pain in the mouth, difficulty eating, and even problems with a person's sense of taste. It can also cause the skin inside of the mouth to become yellow in color.
Gum disease is another common concern among people with diabetes. This is because the same elevated blood glucose levels that can cause dry mouth and fungal infections can also affect a person's gums. When the body has higher levels of glucose, it may have trouble fighting off infections, including gum infections.
Diabetic patients must take special care of their oral health to prevent complications like gum infection and tooth decay. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing at least once a day, and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. These habits can help you prevent painful or expensive problems in the future and allow you to maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime.
If you want to learn more, feel free to contact our dental office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist. We're always here to help your smile stay healthy!