Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes is a condition that impacts how your body controls the blood glucose levels. If you’ve got type I, your body doesn’t have enough insulin, which is what transports the sugar from the blood to the cells. If you have type II, your body doesn’t respond period, and in both cases, you’re going to have oral health issues.

Diabetes actually does impact your oral health in different ways. Those with diabetes have a dry mouth, and there is less saliva there than they usually have. Saliva is important to help with washing away food particles, along with acids. If you don’t produce enough, for example, these tend to settle into the mouth, so patients that have diabetes have a bigger chance of producing cavities, and dry mouth is linked to sores, infections, and even ulcers within the mouth. Diabetes can also slow the healing of wounds, so those that do have dental surgery suffer from a slower recovery period, and these patients are also more susceptible to infections, so proper care and treatment of this will help to minimize these risks.

Patients that have diabetes also have a higher risk of developing gum disease, whether it be periodontitis or even gingivitis. About 22 percent of those with diabetes also have periodontal disease, so if you have diabetes, you’re four times as likely to develop this than someone who doesn’t have it.  If you’re struggling to control the blood sugar levels, your risk will increase as well.  It does go both ways, and gum diseases may even impact how you can maintain stable blood sugar levels since gum disease does impact the bacteria that affects the gumline, which means it will inflame the gums and damage everything. Gum disease can give you pain, bad breath, bleeding, issues with chewing, and even tooth loss, and it can heal more slowly when treated, so you need to work with the dentist when there are obvious signs of it in order to prevent you from getting any further damage from happening.

Dental implants and bridges are a solution, but due to the issue of diabetes, it can make it much harder to get implants and bridges.  It doesn’t mean you can’t get this treatment, but your dentist will need to look at the options, since you need to have healthy gums, and with advanced gum disease and tooth loss, you definitely need to make sure you have that in place, and you need to have your blood sugar under control before you get dental surgery. If you do get one of these though, you’re also at a higher risk for infection, and the healing time can be longer.

So, if you have diabetes, and you have gum disease, you should talk to the dentist, and your physician and they will work together with you in order to manage this and have good dental health, since controlling the blood sugar is one of the biggest things to support dental health if you’ve got diabetes, so be vigilant about seeing the dentist, and work with your dentist for best results.