If you have diabetes, you already know that it's important to look after your body and be extra careful about what you eat. But did you know that diabetes can also make you more prone to some oral health conditions like tooth decay and gum disease? Don't worry — there are steps you can take to protect your mouth. Here's what you need to know about keeping your teeth and gums healthy if you're living with diabetes.
Why and How Diabetes Can Affect Your Oral Health
Diabetes causes your blood glucose levels to rise too much. When your blood sugar levels rise, your immune system can't fight infections properly, which makes you more susceptible to developing oral problems like cavities, infections, gum disease, and dry mouth.
If you don't manage your diabetes properly, there's an even greater chance that you'll develop oral health issues. So, what should you be looking out for, and when is it time to see a dentist?
Glucose and Oral Infections
Saliva helps to keep the bacteria inside your mouth at bay. The problem is that patients with diabetes sometimes have low saliva levels, which makes them more vulnerable to oral infections. Thrush, a type of fungal infection, is the most common, and it can be really uncomfortable. Other common oral complaints include a dry mouth and a burning sensation.
Uncontrolled diabetes can damage the little blood vessels that nourish your teeth and mouth. Bacteria can then build up and leave you with red, swollen, and bleeding gums, which eventually lead to long-term periodontal disease if left untreated. See a dentist as soon as possible if your gums are inflamed or if there's blood when you brush your teeth.
The bacteria responsible for gum disease loves feeding on glucose. If there's too much glucose in your saliva, the bacteria thrives and wears down the protective enamel around your teeth. Once the enamel is weakened, decay sets in and your teeth are damaged.
Protect your teeth by brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day.
How Your Dentist Can Help
The earlier you treat oral conditions, the better. Regular dental checkups can ensure that problems like gum disease, oral thrush, dry mouth, and tooth decay are spotted early. Make an appointment with one of our specialists now to know more about keeping your mouth healthy and monitoring your oral health.