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Diabetes is a condition that can be lifelong for some patients. It is characterized by chronically high blood sugar. It can cause poor healing, neuropathy, blindness, and other complications. It can also cause mouth problems.

Diabetes can increase the risk of tooth decay. The mouth is home to many forms of bacteria. Plaque is formed when the bacteria is mixed with sugar food and starch. Diabetes causes blood sugar to be elevated; this increases the sugar in the mouth and causes more plaque. Plaque eats away at the teeth. Cavities are frequently seen in patients with diabetes.

Complications With Oral Health

Gum disease is a concern for patients with diabetes. If gum disease is left untreated, it can progress and cause tooth loss. Diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. It is important that if you show signs of gum diseases that you visit with your dentist. Signs of gum disease include swelling, redness, and bleeding gums.

Patients with diabetes are at risk for other oral problems. Thrush, mouth ulcers, and infections are seen in diabetic patients. Thrush is an infection of the mouth or throat (and sometimes both) by a yeast-like fungus. It causes white patches to appear on the infected areas. A mouth ulcer is an open sore in the mouth. Based on its location or appearance, some can require additional tests to ensure that they are not an indication of a more serious condition. The inside of the cheeks is the most common location for a mouth ulcer. An infection can occur in any open sore in the mouth. It is important that you watch for infections because diabetes affects the body’s healing process. Diabetic patients have a harder time healing than the average dental patient.

What Is The Connection?

Many people wonder where the extra risk comes from when a patient is diabetic. Poorly controlled blood sugar can cause ideal breeding conditions in the mouth for plaque and infection. Uncontrolled diabetes slows down your white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections in the mouth. When dental work is done on a patient with diabetes it is important to pay attention to the healing process. Since cuts, sores, and other problems heal slower in those with diabetes it is important to watch for signs of infection or other problems.

Diabetic patients that smoke should stop. Smoking impairs blood flow to the gums and increases the risk of gum disease. See your dentist at least twice a year for checkups. Let your dental provider know that you are diabetic. Let your dental provider know if you are experiencing an unusually dry mouth. Your dentist can help you make a plan to take care of any dental problems that you’re experiencing. Postpone any routine dental work if your blood sugar is not controlled. Avoid sugary and starchy foods when possible. If you can’t brush your teeth directly after eating or drinking something sweet, rinse out your mouth. While rinsing isn’t as good as brushing, it does remove some of the acid from your mouth. Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss. If you wear dentures, clean them regularly to help prevent thrush.