When you have diabetes, the high blood sugar can adversely affect vital organs in your entire body, including your teeth and gums. For the nearly 30 million people who have diabetes, many may be surprised to learn about an unexpected complication associated with this condition.
Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes, adding serious gum disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Read on to know
- What you may be at increased risk for;
- How you should take special care for your teeth and gums; and
- How your dentist should care for your mouth if you are a diabetic.
WHAT YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR
1. Early gum disease (Gingivitis)
Diabetes reduces your ability to fight bacteria. If you don't remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it'll harden under your gum line into a substance called tartar (calculus). The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate your gums. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. This is gingivitis.
2. Advanced gum disease (Periodontitis)
Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which in turn causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.
3. Tooth decay (Caries)
Our mouths normally contain bacteria. When your blood sugar is high, the harmful activity of these bacteria increases rapidly leading to quick increase and progress of cavities in the teeth.
4. Dry mouth
Diabetes affects the secretion of saliva from the glands, causing decrease in the outflow of saliva in the mouth. This leads to a feeling of the mouth feeling dry all the time. Dry mouth can lead to soreness, discomfort in wearing dentures, ulcers, cavities in tooth as well as gum diseases.
People with diabetes who often take antibiotics to fight infections are more likely to get this fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. It can give your mouth and tongue a burning feeling.
If your blood sugar persistently remains higher than normal, you are at an increased risk to develop some or all of above complications.
The good news is that prevention is in your hands. Just like any other condition, early diagnosis is very important, and proper maintenance care goes a long way to retard the progress of disease.
We will see in the next blog, remaining aspects of caring for teeth when you have diabetes.