Oral Health and Diabetes

Dental Health
By: Spirit Dental
March 2, 2011


Pill bottles


Updated May 2021

The health of your mouth isn’t isolated from the health of the rest of your body; instead, there’s a connection between oral wellness and overall wellness

What does this mean? Well, what happens to your teeth and gums might end up impacting other areas of your body, and chronic health conditions might also end up increasing your risk of tooth and gum problems. 

Diabetes is a great example of a whole-body condition that can have an impact on the health of your mouth, and vice versa. Check out the information below to see what we mean. 

How Can Diabetes Affect Your Mouth?

Keeping a close eye on how your teeth and gums are doing is a good way to stay on top of your oral health, but it can also alert you to other problems, such as diabetes. 

For example, because diabetes can increase your risk of gum problems, if you’ve been dealing with recurring periodontitis, you might talk to your doctor to figure out the cause, and you might discover that diabetes is to blame. 

Here are some of the ways that diabetes can impact your oral health:

Gum Disease

With diabetes comes a higher risk of gum disease, so you might find that your gums become inflamed and bleed easily. How can this be? Basically, when you’re diabetic, your body will find it harder to fight infections. So, in addition to gum abscesses, you might develop gum disease because of bacteria that attack the gums. 

Controlling your blood sugar with the help of your doctor is key, as doing so may help reduce your odds of developing gum disease. But also work with your dentist to keep gum problems at bay because doing so might help you keep your blood sugar stable as well. 

Dry Mouth

If you aren’t able to control your diabetes, you might notice that there’s a decreased flow of saliva in your mouth. And when you have dry mouth, your risk of infections increases, as does your risk of cavities, ulcers, and sores. 

Dry mouth might also be a side effect of a medication that you’re taking to treat diabetes. If this is the case, talk to your doctor to find out if you have any other options when it comes to the medicine you take. 

Tooth Decay

Dry mouth isn’t the only reason why you may develop cavities. With high blood sugar, your saliva might have more glucose in it. This, in turn, might also raise your odds of tooth decay. 

Making sure you remove plaque and tartar is imperative. Focus on brushing, flossing, and booking trips to the dental hygienist. That way, you can work on keeping your chompers clean and strong. 

Slower Healing

When you’re diabetic, wounds tend to take longer to heal, even when they occur in the mouth. So, if you need to undergo a dental procedure or you need oral surgery, your diabetes may cause you to experience slower healing. This alone should provide you with plenty of motivation to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine at home and your checkups at the dentist’s office!

Oral Thrush

Thrush is a fungal infection, and your risk will be higher if you have diabetes. It might be the result of dry mouth, excess sugar in your saliva, or your body’s inability to fight off infections as well as it should. 

This infection can cause patches and sores in the mouth, and it can also cause what’s known as Burning Mouth Syndrome. You can talk to your doctor and dentist for guidance on prevention and treatment. 

The Best Defense? A Solid Oral Care Routine!

Are you worried about how diabetes might end up impacting your teeth and gums? Although the risk is real, rest assured that there are things in your control. Brush and floss at home twice a day, and use mouthwash to further help keep your mouth as clean as possible. Most importantly, book trips to the dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned and your mouth thoroughly examined.    

Concerned that you won’t be able to afford seeing your dentist on a consistent basis? Spirit is here to help! With a variety of dental insurance plans to suit all budgets and needs, you can quickly and easily enroll in a policy that will give you amazing perks like three cleanings per year and coverage for major services.  

Sources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/diabetes-and-oral-health

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/11263-oral-health-problems-and-diabetes

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-complications/gum-disease.html

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-affects-teeth



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