Diabetes is a condition that impacts your body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. If you have Type I diabetes, your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which transports sugar from your blood to the body’s cells. If you have Type II diabetes, your body doesn’t respond to insulin as it should. In both cases, you’re more likely to have problems with your oral health.
How Does Diabetes Impact Your Oral Health?
Diabetes impacts your dental health in many ways. Patients with diabetes often experience dry mouth, where there’s less saliva than usual. Saliva serves an important function, helping to wash away food particles and acids. If you don’t have enough saliva, these particles may settle in the mouth, leading to tooth decay. This is why patients with diabetes have a higher risk of developing cavities. Dry mouth is also linked to ulcers, infections, and soreness in the mouth.
Diabetes can slow the healing process from wounds, so those who have dental surgery may struggle with a slower recovery time. These patients are also more susceptible to infections. Proper care and treatment will help you avoid or minimize these risks.
Is There a Connection Between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
Patients with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease. Both early gum disease, known as gingivitis, and serious gum disease known as periodontitis are more likely in diabetes patients. In fact, almost 22 per cent of those with diabetes also suffer from periodontal disease. If you have diabetes, you’re as much as four times more likely to develop periodontal disease than someone without diabetes.
If you struggle to control your blood sugar levels, your risk for gum disease will increase. The association between gum disease and diabetes may also go both ways. Some research has suggested that gum disease may impact one’s ability to maintain stable blood glucose levels. Gum disease is caused by bacteria infecting the gum line. These bacteria will inflame the gums and may damage both the gum tissue and bone in your mouth.
Left untreated, gum disease can cause bad breath, pain, bleeding of the gums, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss. As mentioned previously, diabetes can also slow healing, which might make it more difficult to treat gum disease properly. However, it’s important to work closely with your dentist if you have signs of gum disease. The sooner you address the problem, the better your chances of avoiding serious complications like tooth loss and bone loss.