Did you know having diabetes increases your risk of periodontal (gum) disease and other oral health complications? Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Diabetes interferes with the body’s healing ability, making it challenging to treat periodontal disease.
Dr. Kamran Saidara and the Lancaster Dental Care Associates team help patients with diabetes maintain good oral health through preventive care and early intervention at the first sign of gum disease. Here’s what you need to know about diabetes and your oral health.
Diabetes affects your overall health
Most people know diabetes can affect your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. If you have diabetes, you’re at higher risk for various cardiovascular problems, like heart attacks, stroke, coronary artery disease with chest pain, and narrowing of the arteries.
Diabetes may also put you at higher risk for skin problems, hearing impairment, dementia, and depression.
But did you know diabetes can also cause problems with your oral health?
Common oral health problems
Lancaster Dental Care Associates treat diabetes patients who have the following oral health issues:
As gum disease progresses, it eventually leads to pain, bad breath, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss. Having periodontal disease can make it harder to control your blood glucose levels.
Diabetes can cause dry mouth, a condition in which you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth leads to soreness, infections, ulcers, and tooth decay. Left untreated, dry mouth also causes a fungal infection called thrush, which results in painful white patches in your mouth.
Because saliva protects your teeth, dry mouth also puts you at a higher risk for cavities.
Saliva with high glucose levels
People with diabetes may also experience increased sugar levels in their saliva, which may also lead to thrush.
How to prevent dental complications from diabetes
Controlling your blood glucose levels is the key to preventing dental complications related to your diabetes.
Whether you have diabetes or not, you should practice good oral hygiene to maintain a healthy mouth, but it’s even more critical if you have diabetes, since your risks for gum disease and other dental complications are already higher.
If you have diabetes, make sure you:
- Control your blood sugar levels
- Brush and floss twice daily
- Visit Lancaster Dental Care Associates for routine exams and cleanings
- Don’t smoke (smoking makes periodontal disease worse)
Tell your dentist if your gums are sore or your false teeth don’t fit right if you wear dentures.
Check your mouth for problems when you brush your teeth — you may notice white patches or soreness. If your mouth seems dryer than usual, or your gums bleed a lot when you brush your teeth, call Lancaster Dental Care Associates for an evaluation, or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.