Oral health and diabetes

By November 12, 2015Teeth & gums

Excellent oral health is important for everyone, but for diabetics it’s vital!

If you are diabetic, what do your teeth, gums have to do with it? While excellent oral health is important for everyone, for diabetics it is vital. Treatment of periodontal infections helps people with diabetes to control and maintain their glycemic index, and also to prevent other oral health complications.

Oral complications of diabetes

  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease:people with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing gingivitis. When there is poor glycemic control, gingivitis can progress to advanced periodontal disease. Studies suggest that periodontal infection can have a negative effect on glycemic control in people with diabetes. This means that it’s important that diabetic patients with periodontitis get regular dental monitoring and stick to a strict oral health care routine.
  • Xerostomia: Difficulty chewing, tasting and swallowing food are complications linked to xerostomia. All of these symptoms can making eating uncomfortable. Eating less means poorer sugar control, and that can lead to complications for a person with diabetes.
  • Salivary gland dysfunction: A reduced flow of saliva can lead to more dental caries, dry and cracked oral mucosa, mucositis, ulcers and potentially an inflamed tongue.

Your dentist can help to treat symptoms and prevent complications, so booking those regular check-ups is vital!

Article by Suvania Rajah for HelloDoctor

Sources and references:  6. Taylor, G.W. (2003). The effects of periodontal treatment on diabetes. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 134, 41s-48s.
7. Löe, H. Periodontal disease. The sixth complication of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care 1993; 16: 329-34.
8. Vernillo, A.T. (2003). Dental considerations for the treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 134, 24s-33s.

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