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Diabetes & Your Mouth: How Does It Affect Oral Health?

Diabetes, a health condition that affects the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels, impacts all aspects of patients’ health — including oral health. High blood sugar, if left untreated, can have detrimental effects on the health of gums and teeth. The bright side? Prevention is possible.

Learn more about common diabetes mouth symptoms and how to manage them with the help of our Orlando dentists. It’s key to start good diabetes dental hygiene right away to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, or other serious dental health problems. The best way to keep your mouth healthy is to see a dentist — contact us today to schedule a dental cleaning or to learn more about our other dental services that can help patients with diabetes.

Woman Talking To Doctor About Diabetes

What Dental Problems Does Diabetes Cause?

Patients with Type I and Type II diabetes exhibit a variety of symptoms all over the body, including in the mouth. These can lead to more severe oral health problems, such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, and dry mouth, among other issues. These oral health problems caused by diabetes range from mild to severe and can include the following.

  • Dry Mouth
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Delayed Wound Healing
  • Infections
  • Persistent Bad Breath
  • Thrush

Why Are Patients With Diabetes Prone To Dental Issues?

Patients with diabetes are prone to gum disease — almost 22 percent of those with diabetes also have periodontal disease. Poor blood sugar control increases a patient’s risk for gum disease, especially as they age. Similar to other infections, severe gum disease might cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control because patients are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight bacteria invading the gums.

How Can I Prevent Diabetes-Related Dental Problems?

To help prevent long-lasting damage to teeth and gums, it’s important for patients with diabetes to adopt proper dental health practices. The best way to start is by managing your blood sugar levels and following your doctor’s orders closely. The better patients control their blood sugar levels, the more effective these dental health measures will be. Contact our dental office for more information about correct oral health procedures.

  • Brush your teeth twice per day. Using proper brushing techniques, clean your teeth twice a day — once in the morning and once at night. Use a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride, and avoid harshly brushing — it can irritate your gums.
  • Floss once a day, at minimum. Proper flossing gets rid of tough-to-reach plaque wedged in between teeth. Patients having trouble getting regular floss through their teeth can use flossing sticks that are easy-to-grip.
  • Schedule routine dental cleanings. To maintain a healthy, beautiful smile, schedule dental cleanings, X-rays, and checkups twice a year.
  • Tell your dentist you have diabetes. Every time you visit the dentist, be sure to tell your dentist you have diabetes. This is important to ensure our dentists administer the correct dental treatment to help patients with diabetes.
  • Be on the lookout for early signs of gum disease. Report any signs of developing gum disease — redness, swelling, sensitivity, and bleeding gums — to your dentist right away. Be sure to mention any other symptoms, including dry mouth, loose teeth, and mouth pain.
  • Don’t smoke. Persistent smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, such as periodontitis and tooth decay. If you’re a smoker, consult with your doctor on ways to quit.