Diabetes and the Effects on Dental Health

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and we would like to take a moment to discuss what diabetes is and the effects it may have on oral health.

What is Diabetes?

According to the CDC, “Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.” There are three main types of diabetes which include; type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Type 1 means your body doesn’t produce insulin, type 2 is associated with your body not using insulin well, and gestational diabetes is caused by the mother's body not being able to make and use all the insulin it needs.

If you would like to learn more about diabetes, the types, risk factors, etc. we highly encourage you to visit The American Diabetes Association website.

Diabetes and the Effects on Dental Health

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “People with diabetes have a higher chance of having periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to pain, bad breath that doesn’t go away, chewing difficulties, and even tooth loss. Diabetes can also slow down healing, so it can interfere with treatment of periodontal disease.”

Additionally, diabetes can cause dry mouth which can lead to a wide variety of oral health issues including soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay. Diabetes may also cause the sugar (glucose) levels in your saliva to increase. Dry mouth and increased sugar can then lead to thrush (oral fungal infection).

If your diabetes is not under control your likelihood of developing oral health issues is increased.

Regular Checks

While everyone should inspect their own mouth for abnormalities it is especially important for diabetics to check their mouth routinely. Not only should diabetics be consistent in examining their mouth for changes, but they should also be visiting their dentist for regular checkups. If you do experience or see; swollen gums, bleeding gums when they brush and floss, dryness of the mouth, soreness, white patches, and/or a bad taste in the mouth - you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.



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