Diabetes as a condition tends to affect the oral health of an individual due to high blood sugar levels.
Managing your blood sugar levels, therefore, becomes vital whether one has type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Cavities (Tooth decay)
The mouth contains bacteria. When starch and sugar from different beverages and foods interact with the bacteria in the mouth, a substance known as plaque is formed. The plaque attacks the surfaces of the tooth (dentine and enamel) and cavities are formed. The higher the sugar levels the more the supply of starch and sugar leading to decay.
Early gum disease(gingivitis)
Diabetes reduces the ability to fight bacteria. If there is no practice of proper oral health like regular flossing and brushing of teeth, this leads to plaque hardening under the gum line as tartar. The longer the tartar and plaque remain under the teeth the more they irritate the gum around the base of your teeth. The gums become swollen and bleed with time. This is called gingivitis.
Advanced gum disease (Periodontitis)
Gingivitis, if left untreated leads to periodontitis. This weakens the bone and tissue holding the teeth. This causes the gums and jawbone to pull away from the teeth leading to teeth loosening and possibly falling off. Periodontitis: • Causes the sugar levels to rise and hence diabetes becomes difficult to control. • Becomes severe to patients with diabetes since it tends to lower the ability to fight bacteria.
People with diabetes may be more likely to develop thrush which is a fungal infection. Thrush is associated with painful white patches inside the mouth. This leads to halitosis (bad breath)
People with diabetes tend to have a dry mouth with low levels of saliva. Saliva helps in fighting bacteria in the mouth leading to mouth infection. This, therefore, becomes Was key determinant in controlling cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis
Proper dental care
• Make it a priority to monitor your sugar levels - Manage your diabetes by keeping the sugar levels between the expected target range.
• Brush your teeth at least twice every day - This helps in reducing bacteria, hence preventing complications.
• Make sure your dentist knows your diabetes - To help you manage it by monitoring.
• Look for any signs of gum disease and report them to your dentist – To seek treatment
• Avoid smoking – This leads to severe diabetes-related complications.