Diabetes and Teeth: What to Watch Out For
Diabetes affects not only your blood sugar levels but your teeth and gums as well. Individuals with diabetes are more at risk of dental issues than those without. This is especially true for those who already had poor oral health before their diagnosis.
If you were diagnosed with diabetes, make sure to pay special attention to your oral health. You will need a more thorough dental hygiene routine to help minimise the risk of dental issues.
Here are some of the most common problems that you should look out for:
Gum disease is a type of inflammation of the gums. Diabetics may often experience a reduced blood supply to the gums. Since there is a less blood reaching the gums, it makes it more susceptible to infection and bacteria.
There are two forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less serious form, but it can develop into periodontitis over time.
Gingivitis is the build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a type of bacterial film – it is quite sticky and tends to pool between the teeth and the arch where they meet the gums.
You can prevent plaque build-up by brushing your teeth regularly. However, forgetting to floss or poor brushing technique can lead to the build-up of plaque, which leads to gingivitis. Since the gums are always in contact with the bacteria-laden film, infection starts to take hold. This gives the gums an inflamed appearance.
Since diabetes cuts the blood supply to the gums and weakens the body’s resistance to bacteria, the risk of gingivitis is much higher. The longer the plaque remains on your teeth, the higher the chances of it irritating your gums.
Gingivitis can eventually turn into periodontitis. Instead of just affecting the gums, the bacteria starts to affect the tissue and the bones that support the teeth as well. Periodontitis is one of the primary causes of tooth loss among adults.
Diabetic people can also have a dry mouth. In fact, it is a common symptom of the disease. They have a harder time producing saliva and often feel thirsty. The lack of saliva also leaves them with a dry, sticky feeling in their mouth and throat, making it more difficult to taste and to swallow food.
A dry mouth can lead to halitosis or bad breath, as the lack of saliva allows bacteria to proliferate. If left untreated, it could also lead to irritation of the tongue, cracked lips and oral sores.
Dry mouth can be difficult to control, as it cannot be cured simply by brushing your teeth. You will have to stay hydrated and maintain a healthier diet.
These are just some of the things you have to watch out for if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. If you want to learn more about how you can keep your teeth healthy, contact Deekay Dental today. We recommend that you come in for an appointment at least twice a year.