How does Diabetes Affect Oral Health

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 05, 2012

Diabetes, unfortunately, is not a self contained illness, which restricts itself to creating an imbalance in the blood sugar levels alone, but is known to affect several other organs of the body including the heart, the kidneys and the eyes and in certain cases, teeth. Research has successfully proved the correlation between diabetes and oral health. Along with periodic eye checkups, diabetics are also advised sequential dental checkups for early detection of gum diseases. How does diabetes affect oral health, therefore?


How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health

  1. Diabetes is not directly associated with any specific tooth related problems per se. In fact, it is mostly concerned with gum diseases and infections that will ultimately affect your tooth.
  2. There is a two way correlation between diabetes and gum problems i.e. not only will a diabetic develop gum problems, someone with gum problems may develop diabetes. If you are required to make frequent visits to your dentist on account of gum infections, check for the probability of an excess of sugar in your blood.
  3. One of the most common gum problems associated with diabetes is gingivitis. It is caused due to inflammation of the gum tissues as a result of bacterial infestation in dental plaque. Mild forms of gingivitis might go unnoticed as they would rarely cause any symptoms. In severe forms, however, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss as well.
  4. When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious condition known as periodontitis in diabetics. It is characterised by infection leading to tender and swollen gums. Periodontitis is known to be a potentially serious condition warranting prompt treatment.  
  5. Other forms of oral problems associated with diabetes will include oral thrush as well as ulcers, cavities, infections and soreness in the tooth and gums. Furthermore, diabetics may suffer from a feeling of excessive dryness in the mouth.

The best way to manage oral problems associated with diabetes is to attempt a strict control of blood sugar levels through periodic monitoring. This is because most of the gum problems arise out of poor blood sugar management in diabetics. Therefore, along with finding answers to questions like how does diabetes affect oral health, one should also attempt to understand the ways to manage the effects successfully.


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