How Does Diabetes Affect Your Oral Health?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. People who have diabetes know that it can affect vital organs and other important parts of your body. But did you know it can also affect your oral health. Some ways Diabetes affect your oral health are:



Xerostomia (Dry Mouth) – Your body decreases saliva flow causing dry mouth, saliva flow is an important part of your oral health it helps wash away food particles and keep the mouth moist. When there isn’t enough saliva flow the tissues get irritated and swollen, bacteria thrives, and you are at higher risk of developing tooth decay.

Periodontal Disease (Gingivitis or Periodontitis) – another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken. This slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events, the body loses its ability to fight infections. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, people with uncontrolled diabetes might experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.

Delay in healing after dental surgery- People who have diabetes tend to have a slower healing time after dental surgery.

Burning mouth and/or tongue — this condition is caused by the presence of thrush. People with diabetes who smoke are at an even higher risk — up to 20 times more likely than non-smokers to develop thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking also seems to impair blood flow to the gums, which might affect wound healing in this tissue area.

What can I do?

Flossing and brushing daily at least twice a day- will prevent plaque from forming into build up and also prevents against dental caries.

Regular dental check-ups-Have your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, or even every 3 or 4 months. Your dentist may suggest stepping up the cleaning schedule if you tend to build up plaque or tartar quickly.

Controlled blood glucose levels- the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes. Take medications as directed, changing your diet and even exercising more can help. Good blood sugar control will also help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes

Avoid Smoking-talk to your doctor about ways to quit.

These are a few ways you can take control of your oral health, but there is no better plan than to consult with Dr. Danial Kalantari/Smiles on Bristol Dentistry, to see what treatment and precaution benefit you.