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Oral Health and Diabetes

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 24, 2013
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Diabetes can affect not only the entire body but your oral health as well. Your oral health depends on how well your blood sugar is controlled. Well controlled diabetes does not affect oral health. Some effects of diabetes on oral health are:

 

  • Worsening of periodontal (gum) disease: People with poorly diabetes are more likely to have severe periodontal disease.
  • Gum inflammation or gingivitis 
  • Dry mouth or xerostomia: This increase the risk of tooth decay or cavities and other oral problems.
  • Poor healing in the mouth: Diabetes impairs healing of tissues, so you may have problems with healing following oral surgery or other dental treatment.
  • Oral candidiasis (thrush) and other oral infections: As poorly controlled diabetes impairs the body's defenses against infection people with uncontrolled diabetes are more likely to have severe infections.
  • Burning mouth syndrome

 

Consult your dentist regularly. Regular visits can help to diagnose and treat oral conditions in early stages. Keep your dentist informed about your medications and blood tests such as hemoglobin A1C and fasting blood glucose. People with poorly controlled diabetes may need any special dental care especially if they have associated cardiovascular or kidney problems.

 

Before any dental procedure take your insulin and eat normally. As some medicines that you are given after dental treatment can interfere with your pills for diabetes, it is important that your dentist knows about your medication and their doses. Diabetes slows healing of any tissue and makes you more prone to infection. Hence it is important that you follow your dentist’s instructions thoroughly after treatment.

 

Besides diabetes several other endocrinal diseases can affect your health.  Thyroid disease, pituitary tumors, paget's disease of bone can affect your oral health.  If you have any endocrine disease, tell your dentist about it, as some medicines that you are given for dental treatment can interfere with your regular medication. Hence it is important that your dentist knows about your medication and their doses.

 

Diabetes Patients Should Pay Close Attention to Oral Health

 

Diabetes causes complications such as cardiovascular, eyes or kidney problems. These are well known. But many people will be surprised to know that diabetes can cause several oral complications as well. Studies have shown that people with diabetes are at higher risk for oral health problems, such as gingivitis (an early stage of gum disease) and periodontitis (serious gum disease). Diabetes increases the risk for serious gum disease as it makes a person more susceptible to bacterial infections that invade the gums. In addition some studies have shown the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is mutual. This means that people with diabetes are prone to serious gum disease, and probably serious gum disease influences blood glucose control and worsens diabetes.

 

Diabetes and dental tips

 

People with poorly controlled diabetes are at higher risk - of serious gum disease and loss of more teeth than non-diabetics. In addition serious gum disease like other infections influences blood glucose control and worsens diabetes. Other problems that are common in diabetics include thrush, dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, tooth decay, and burning mouth syndrome.

 

Some tips to maintain good oral health in people with diabetes are;


  • Brush twice a day and floss daily
  • Avoid smoking 
  • If you wear dentures remove and clean them daily

 

Examine your mouth and be watchful for any of the following;


  • Painful or swollen gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing teeth
  • Pus coming out from gums
  • Teeth that appear longer than normal

 

Consult your dentist for regular checkups as people with diabetes tend to have poor blood circulation, and may not feel any pain or discomfort until their oral problems are advanced.

 
Prevent Diabetes Problems

 
Good oral care and hygiene can help to prevent dental problems in people with diabetes.

 

Some tips to prevent dental problems in people with diabetes are;

  • Control your blood glucose level, get your sugar level checked regularly and follow up with your physician. Keep your dentist also informed about your medications and blood tests such as hemoglobin A1C and fasting blood glucose.
  • Good diabetes control can aid to prevent or relieve dry mouth as well.
  • Take good care of your teeth and gums - Brush twice a day and floss daily
  • If you wear dentures - to control thrush or candidasis (fungal infection) maintain good blood sugar control, avoid smoking, remove and clean dentures everyday.
  • Consult your dentist for regular checkups every six months.


Good dental health not only prevents dental problems it probably prevents worsening of diabetes as well. Some studies have shown that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is mutual. This means that people with diabetes are prone to serious gum disease, and probably serious gum disease influences blood glucose control and worsens diabetes.

 
Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy


People with diabetes need to care more for their teeth and gums as compared to people without diabetes. Your dentist and hygienist can help you to maintain good oral health and avoid problems that are common in diabetes. Consult your dentist for regular checkups every six months and keep him or her informed about your medications and blood tests such as hemoglobin A1C and fasting blood glucose. Do not go for a dental procedure if your blood sugar is not in good control if it is not an emergency.

 

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