The Impact Of Diabetes On Oral Health

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impact-diabetesResearch has shown that over 19 million people in the United States are diabetics, but only two-thirds of them are aware of it. Study results have illustrated that individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop oral infections as well as gum disease when compared to those who do not have it. An oral infection is more serious with patients who have diabetes. When a diabetic does not have control of their blood sugar levels, they will often develop more oral health problems. These types of infections are more common with patients who are smokers, older or recently past puberty.

Dry Mouth

People who regularly experience dry mouth can develop ulcers, mouth soreness as well as tooth decay. When a person’s blood sugar levels are not controlled, the flow of saliva in their mouth will decrease. This will cause them to experience dry mouth.

Gum Inflammation

People who have diabetes will experience their blood vessels thickening. This will reduce the flow of nutrients and waste from their body’s tissue. It will happen in their mouth. This reduces a person’s ability to fight infection. Periodontal disease is an infection from bacteria. This causes people with diabetes to experience more serious levels of gum disease.

Oral Tissue Healing

If a person has diabetes, they will not heal quickly after having oral surgery. It will be the same for every dental procedure. The reason is the flow of blood to the treatment site will be decreased.

Fungal Infections

Diabetic individuals who regularly take antibiotics to deal with some type of infection can easily develop a fungal infection in their mouth and on their tongue. This fungus grows rapidly on the increased levels of sugar in the saliva of individuals not controlling their diabetes.


This burning sensation can be felt in a person’s mouth or on the tongue. It is the result of a fungus called Candida albicans building up in an individual’s mouth. This is called thrush. A person who smokes and has diabetes is at a high risk for developing this condition.

Diabetic Dental Care

An individual with diabetes need to regularly see their dentist. If a person’s blood sugar is not able to be controlled, they need to talk with their dentist, as well as physician. Elective dental care must be considered. Any dental procedure performed should be quick and with as little stress as possible. It is best for a diabetic to have dental treatments early in the morning. This is typically the time of day when their blood sugar levels are most under control. It is also important a diabetic keep their dentist aware of any changes in their health situation.

Daily Dental Care

A diabetic should have their gums checked and cleaned by their dentist two times each year. This may need to happen more often depending on a person’s condition. Plaque buildup needs to be prevented by using dental floss daily. Teeth brushing should happen after each meal. The most effective time is 30 minutes after a diabetic has eaten. Dentures need to be removed and cleaned each day. Many dentists recommend their diabetic patients also use an antibacterial mouth rinse. This can help decrease bacteria that causes plaque and gum disease.

Special Needs

Individuals with diabetes have special needs for their oral care. Experienced dentists are trained to meet those needs. It is essential to keep a dentist informed of any and all medications that are being taken. Blood sugar levels should be made known to the dentist prior to any procedures. It is important a diabetic quit smoking. It can promote gum disease development. When a diabetic follows the recommendations of their dentist and physician, they are able to experience good oral health.

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