Can Diabetes Affect The Mouth?

One in 20 people are being treated for diabetes according to Diabetes UK which also estimates 850,000 of us have the condition and don’t know it. The most common type, affecting 85%-95% of those with diabetes, is type 2 diabetes where cases have increased significantly in the UK. Experts attribute this rise to diet and obesity. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar for energy. The main types include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes can lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process.

What Dental Problems Are People With Diabetes at Higher Risk For?

  • Dry mouth. Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth can further lead to a higher risk of tooth decay, soreness, ulcers and infection.
  • Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis). Besides impairing white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events happens, the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, diabetics with uncontrolled disease may experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.
  • Burning mouth and/or tongue. This condition is caused by the presence of thrush.
  • Poor healing of oral tissues. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.
  • Thrush people with diabetes who frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections are especially prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.

What can I do to keep my mouth healthy?

Ensure that your following your recommended daily oral hygiene regime for your mouth.  Dietary habits and exercise are also very important.  See your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis for them to be able to maintain your mouth in as healthy a condition as possible.

At Brightside Dental, all our clinicians are trained in the dental management of diabetes.  If you would like any advice, give us a call on 020 88884401