Diabetes and Oral Health
Amy Jo Ojibway
Registered Dental Hygienist
LCOHC Dental Department
Diabetes affects your entire body including your oral cavity. In turn, poor oral health can have an adverse effect on your diabetes and blood sugars. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can turn into periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and the bone support around your teeth which can progress and cause early loss of teeth. As with all infections, this disease can cause your blood sugars to rise and make it more difficult for you to control your blood sugars.
Periodontal disease is not the only oral complication you may experience when you are diagnosed with diabetes. Some other problems that can occur are:
Xerostomia or Dry Mouth: A decrease in saliva puts you at a higher risk of cavities because saliva works to protect the teeth.
Candidiasis, Thrush or Fungal Infections: This can appear as white or red areas in your mouth which may be painful.
Burning Mouth Syndrome: If you feel severe burning and pain in your mouth even though there are no signs of problems seen in the mouth, you may have this syndrome
Complications with oral surgery due to delayed healing and increased susceptibility of infections.
The best way to prevent diabetes related complications in your dental health is to control your blood sugars, visit your dental provider on a more frequent basis and have exceptional home care. All of these things are beneficial in controlling your blood sugar, lowering your hemoglobin A1C (an average of your blood glucose level over 3 months) and slowing the progression of diabetes.
Teamwork between yourself, your medical provider and your dental provider is key to helping you control your blood sugars and to detect any concerns or problems in their early stages. As always, it is important to visit your dental care provider for regular care and a thorough oral cavity exam. Call us at LCOHC Dental Department to make your appointment; we would love to help you!