If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you are aware of the extra precautions you must take in order to maintain your health. You may not be aware, however, that your condition also has effects on your dental health. Here are some of the issues involving diabetes and your oral health:
Gum Disease
People with diabetes are at special risk for gum disease, both gingivitis and the more advanced form known as periodontitis. This is characterized by an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Plaque that is not removed can eventually harden into tartar, and when tartar collects above the gumline, it becomes more difficult to thoroughly brush and clean between teeth. This can create conditions that lead to chronic inflammation and infection in the mouth. Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are among the tissues likely to be affected.
Thurting toothooth Decay
When diabetes is not controlled properly, high glucose levels in saliva may help bacteria thrive. This occurs when your mouth is especially dry as a result of the medicines you take or when your blood sugar levels are high. When there’s less saliva to wash away germs and acids, you’re more prone to cavities.
Fungal Infections
The human mouth naturally contains bacteria, viruses and fungi that are typically kept in check by the immune system and oral hygiene. Sometimes, the fungi can proliferate and cause oral candidiasis, which is more common among people with diabetes. Again, diminished saliva flow can create ideal conditions for fungal infections, such as thrush. Thrush produces white or red patches in the mouth that may be sore or may become ulcers. It can also attack the tongue or cause difficulty in swallowing and tasting food.
Prevention is the best defense against the oral health complications that can arise from diabetes. If you have been diagnosed, proper oral health care and regular visits to your dentist are absolutely vital. If it’s time for a checkup, make an appointment today with your Mesa dentist. For more information on oral health and diabetes, go to diabetes.org.