- Gums that are red, swollen, sore, or bleed easily
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- Sensitive or loose teeth
- Changes in the way your bite feels
- Dentures that don’t fit right
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
September 23, 2016
A Dentist Is an Important Member of Your Diabetes Team
Diabetes can affect your teeth and gums. If you manage your blood glucose level at or as near normal as possible, this should go a long way toward preventing gum and teeth problems. Yes, there are other self care measures that you must do.
Take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily as well as rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash. Make regular visits to your dentist. That can help you prevent pain, infections, and other problems.
When you have high blood glucose levels from diabetes, your saliva around your teeth and under your gums has more sugars in it. This helps harmful germs and plaque grow. Plaque irritates your gums and can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Gum disease makes your gums bleed, look red, and swell. High blood glucose can make gum disease get worse faster.
If you control your blood glucose well, you're less likely to have these problems. Studies show that people who have good management of their diabetes are less likely to have gum disease than those who don't manage their diabetes well. They also tend to lose fewer teeth from gum disease.
What’s more, recent research shows that having gum disease may make your blood glucose worse. But prompt help for gum disease can improve your blood glucose levels.
See your dentist regularly. Schedule a visit right away if you have any of these signs of gum disease:
Gum disease is the most common mouth problem for people with diabetes. But diabetes raises your chances of other mouth problems, too. You can't fight infections as well, and high blood glucose makes it easier for germs and bacteria to grow in your mouth.
Thrush, a type of fungal infection, is more common if you have diabetes, especially if you also smoke or wear dentures. Thrush causes white or red patches in your mouth that can burn or feel sore. Having thrush can also make it hard to swallow and affects how food tastes. If you have any symptoms of thrush, see your doctor or dentist. You may need to take an antifungal drug to treat it. Avoid smoking, maintain good blood sugar control, and if you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily.
Diabetes also makes dry mouth and problems with healing more likely. A dry mouth can cause soreness and ulcers and lead to cavities and salivary gland infections. If your mouth is dry, try drinking more water or chewing sugar-free gum. You can also use a saliva substitute, which is sold in most drugstores.
If you have problems with healing, it may take longer for your mouth to heal after any type of dental surgery. Healing problems can also raise your chances of infection. Be sure to let your dentist know you have diabetes.
For more information on the importance of having a dentist on your diabetes team and periodontal disease read more of my blogs, blog 1, blog 2, blog 3, and blog 4.