Diabetes and Your Teeth
If diabetes is left untreated, it can take a toll on your mouth. Here's how:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. (Dry mouth is also caused by certain medications).
- Because saliva protects your teeth, you are also at a higher risk for cavities
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis)
- You may have problems tasting food
- You may experience delayed wound healing
- You may be susceptible to infections inside of your mouth
- For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than that which is typical.
Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22 percent of those diagnosed. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control, especially as age increases. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes difficult to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.
One in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to Diabetes.
Your Diabetes Dental Health Action Plan
Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your smile healthy, as well as potentially slowing the progression of diabetes. Here are five ways to reach optimal wellness when it comes to oral heath:
- Control your blood sugar levels and use your diabetes-related medications as directed. Changing to a healthy diet and exercising more can help as well. Good blood sugar control will also help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes
- Avoid smoking
- If you wear any type of denture, be sure to clean them daily
- Be sure to brush twice a day with a soft bristle brush and floss between your teeth daily
- See your dentist for regular checkups.