Taking proper care of your mouth is not only essential for overall health and confidence, but it also helps guard against potential pain and infections caused by dental issues. Incorporating good oral hygiene habits into your daily routine is a critical step in maintaining a healthy mouth. This includes brushing regularly, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash.
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that has major implications for oral health. With high blood sugar, white blood cells—your body's primary defense against dental infections—are weakened. Those who have diabetes must pay special attention to taking care of their teeth and gums.
But that doesn't mean diabetics need to worry. The good news is that there are steps that can be taken to prevent dental problems. This article tells you everything you need to know about diabetes and oral health.
Defining Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease—more commonly known as gum disease—is an infection of the gums. It's caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and can be very painful. The symptoms of periodontal disease depend on its severity, but typically include red or swollen gums, bad breath, and loose teeth.
Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth and gums. Plaque is composed of various types of bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which are both significantly involved in gum disease.
There are several causes of plaque buildup on your teeth:
- Poor oral hygiene habits, such as inadequate brushing and flossing
- Certain types of food, such as sugary and sticky foods
- Not visiting the dentist regularly for professional teeth cleanings
- Tobacco use (i.e., smoking, chewing)
- Dry mouth
- Certain medical conditions that cause saliva production to decrease, including infections, obstruction, and cancer
- Medications (some medications cause dry mouth, which can increase plaque accumulation)
Plaque can cause inflammation of the gums and oral tissue, leading to gum recession and tooth loss. It can also put diabetics at greater risk of developing other severe health conditions, such as heart disease.
Gingivitis Vs. Periodontal Disease
It's important to note the difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum inflammation caused by plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. Common symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
Gingivitis can be reversed with proper oral hygiene habits, like brushing twice daily and flossing at least once per day. If left untreated, however, gingivitis is a leading cause of periodontal disease.
Over time, increasing inflammation of the gums can cause periodontitis, the more severe form of gingivitis. As the gingiva becomes increasingly inflamed, pockets of pus form around the teeth and gums.
These pockets are where bacteria can accumulate, leading to further thickening of the plaque layer on the teeth and more inflammation. Eventually, these pockets of infection will cause weakening of the teeth and bone structure that supports them, leading to tooth loss and—you guessed it—periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a much more severe form of gum inflammation caused by long-term accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. Symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth.
The Relationship Between Oral Health And Diabetes
Although the connection between diabetes and gum disease was first documented in the 1960s, it was commonly believed that periodontal problems were mostly caused by diabetes. Since higher blood sugar directly translates to saliva, patients who are diabetic are at much greater risk of developing periodontal diseases. Plus, those whose glycemic levels fluctuate more frequently experience more severe gum issues that do not respond as well to attempted treatments.
But with the mounting evidence connecting oral health and overall well-being, it's evident that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal diseases is bilateral—gum disease can have a substantial impact on people with diabetes and vice versa.
Bacteria that gain access to the bloodstream from oral sources can lead to a heightened level of insulin resistance, making long-term diabetes management more difficult. And for people who have trouble maintaining healthy habits and lifestyles, gum disease and tooth decay are major health risks that precede diabetes and signify what’s to come. The American Diabetes Association states that inflammation caused by these habits (and periodontal disease) can lead to higher blood sugar levels, which can also lead to diabetes.
That said, the inverse problem can still occur, causing a hazardous feedback loop if not properly monitored. Since diabetes is a high-risk factor for various types of periodontal disease, it's crucial that glucose levels be kept in check to lessen the likelihood of a patient developing severe periodontal issues. Poor glycemic control will more than likely make it difficult for patients to respond to treatments that could usually help with alleviating periodontal diseases.
How Diabetes Impacts Your Oral Health
There are numerous ways that diabetes can impact your oral health, from increasing the risk of developing cavities to causing dry mouth and gingivitis. Here are some ways that diabetes can affect your teeth and gums:
1. Higher Blood Sugar Means Higher Saliva Sugar Content.
Through the aid of amylase enzymes, which are secreted in saliva, complex starches can be converted into easier-to-absorb sugar molecules. This process helps to keep glucose levels balanced within a healthy range for overall well-being. Most studies find the amylase concentration to be higher in diabetic patients, meaning that saliva sugar levels are also increased.
Saliva is the body's natural defense against bacteria, and too little of it means bacteria will be able to multiply more rapidly in the mouth. With higher blood sugar, the saliva becomes muddied with glucose and other substances, making it a great environment for bacteria to flourish.
Since the bacteria that live in your mouth feed off of sugars as their primary energy source, the higher saliva sugar content can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and cavities.
2. Diabetes Symptoms Can Exacerbate Tooth Decay.
There are myriad symptoms diabetic patients suffer from, including dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay. Without proper hydration, saliva production is suppressed, leaving teeth vulnerable to bacterial attack and acid-based erosion caused by sugary food and drinks.
According to the ADA, dry mouth is a leading cause of tooth decay, demineralization, and cavities in all patients, regardless of whether they are diabetic or not. Any condition that causes dry mouth can therefore impact the health of the teeth and gums. This includes cancer treatments, autoimmune disorders, and, yes, diabetes.
3. Some Causes Of Diabetes Also Cause Oral Health Problems.
There are numerous habits that ruin your teeth, including smoking, consuming alcohol, eating unhealthy foods, and drinking sugary beverages. All of these also can lead to higher blood sugar and therefore an increased risk of getting diabetes.
It's important to note that not all causes of diabetes cause oral health problems, but it's important to be aware that some do. People suffering from type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for gum disease due to poor dietary choices and smoking, while people with type 1 diabetes may be more susceptible to periodontal diseases due to an autoimmune reaction.
4. Diabetes Can Cause Sores And Ulcers To Form In The Mouth.
Diabetes can cause problems for the body's ability to heal itself, leading to an increased risk of developing sores and ulcers inside the mouth. These areas of open skin are more vulnerable to bacterial attack, which could lead to infections if not treated properly.
This problem can be exacerbated with dry mouth, one of the key symptoms of diabetes. When saliva production is suppressed, it becomes more difficult for the mouth to heal itself and fight off infection.
5. Diabetic Neuropathy Can Cause Oral Discomfort And Sensitivity.
Diabetic neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves and can cause pain, numbness, or tingling sensations in the mouth. This can make it difficult to detect sores, ulcers, and decay before they become severe enough to require professional treatment.
Diabetic neuropathy is also often the root cause of burning mouth syndrome (glossodynia), taste impairment (dysgeusia), trigeminal nerve pain, and temporomandibular (i.e., jaw) joint dysfunction, according to Wenche S. Borgnakke, DDS, author of Diabetes in America.
Dry Mouth Symptoms And Diabetes
One of the most common diabetic symptoms is dry mouth—it's a symptom of many diabetes medications and can result from high blood sugar levels. In fact, it's often one of the first signs of diabetes.
Dry mouth can make it difficult to speak, eat, and swallow food. But it can also increase the risk of cavities and other oral health problems by causing a decrease in saliva production. Saliva plays an essential role in how well the mouth can break down food, control bacteria, and provide minerals to teeth.
Decreased saliva production means that bacteria and plaque will have more opportunities to grow. This can cause tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues.
Everyone experiences dry mouth from time to time, but diabetics who may suffer from chronic dry mouth may have symptoms including the following:
Bad Breath (Even After Brushing)
One of the most common symptoms of dry mouth is bad breath. This is because, with decreased saliva production, bacteria can linger in the mouth for longer and cause odors to occur.
Thick Salivary Consistency
Saliva helps reduce the acidity inside the mouth and keeps it from being too acidic. With decreased saliva production, this acidity level rises, leading to a thicker consistency in saliva.
Mouth Sores And Infections
Dry mouth provides the perfect opportunity for bacteria and fungus to grow, which can lead to mouth sores, thrush (a yeast infection), and other infections.
A Burning Sensation In The Mouth
A burning feeling in the mouth is often one of the first onset symptoms of dry mouth. This sensation can make it difficult to eat or drink and may worsen with time. It may also be exacerbated by at-home teeth whitening or professional dental care procedures.
Difficulty Speaking, Chewing, Or Swallowing
The reduced saliva production caused by diabetes can make it difficult to swallow and speak properly. This is because saliva helps lubricate the mouth and throat, which makes these activities easier.
Dry And Cracked Lips
Dry mouth can also cause the lips to become dry and cracked. Saliva is the main component that helps keep the lips moist and can make them appear healthy.
New Or Widened Spaces Between The Teeth
If saliva production is reduced, it can cause the gums to recede, which leads to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay. In some cases, dry mouth can also lead to spaces between the teeth that may not have been there before.
Treatment For Dry Mouth Due To Diabetes
If you are suffering from dry mouth, there are a few ways to help alleviate your symptoms. These include:
- Drinking more water throughout the day. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dry mouth, even in diabetes patients. Even if you think you're drinking enough water, this is usually the best place to start.
- Using a mouth rinse or dentifrice specifically designed to counteract dry mouth. One study found that patients who used a specially formulated mouth rinse experienced relief from dry mouth symptoms.
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Not only do they cause tooth decay, but they can worsen the symptoms of dry mouth.
- Chewing sugar-free gum to increase saliva production. Chewing gum with xylitol or sorbitol can help stimulate saliva production, as well as reduce the risk of tooth decay.
- Talking with your dentist about prescription medications that don't have dry mouth as a side effect. This may not be doable, but it's worth discussing with your dentist.
- Using a humidifier in the bedroom or bathroom. Doing so will increase moisture in the air and make it easier to breathe while sleeping.
Most of these solutions are low-cost, meaning that you don't have to spend a fortune to get relief from dry mouth. However, if your symptoms persist or become worse over time, it's important to talk with your dentist about other potential treatments.
Diabetes And Teeth And Gum Problems
Of the numerous oral health issues caused or exacerbated by diabetes, a few of them (i.e., sensitivity and discomfort) are just minor inconveniences. But some are more serious and can have serious implications for your overall health if left untreated.
Tooth Decay And Dental Caries
As mentioned, tooth decay is one of the most common oral health risks for diabetes patients. This is due to a combination of factors, such as:
- Higher glucose levels in saliva
- Lower saliva production
- Increased acidity in the mouth
The higher glucose levels can cause plaque to form on teeth and increase the risk of tooth decay. The lower saliva production and increased acidity can also make it easier for bacteria to grow, leading to cavities and other oral health issues.
Common signs of tooth decay include:
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Discoloration in the form of brown, white, or black spots on the teeth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Gum recession
- Visible cracks, pits, or holes in the teeth
A 2022 study found dental caries to be prevalent in 79.6% of diabetics—a significant number even for a condition that impacts 44% of the global population.
Gingivitis And Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis is one of the most common oral health issues worldwide. They occur when bacteria builds up on the gums due to decreased saliva production and higher glucose levels, leading to swollen and red gums that may bleed easily.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Painful or tender gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
Sometimes, tooth decay will happen first or simultaneously with gingivitis, as the bacteria that causes tooth decay can also cause gum inflammation. This increases the risk of more serious diseases like periodontitis, which can lead to loss of teeth, periodontal disease, and other complications if left untreated.
As a diabetic, gum disease can take longer to heal and cause greater discomfort than in non-diabetic individuals. And even in those who don't have diabetes, the inflammation caused by gum disease increases your risk of diabetes.
Loose Teeth, Shifting Teeth, And Failure Of Dental Implants
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 22 different studies concluded that diabetic patients are more likely to experience tooth loss. Tooth loss is never the first sign of diabetes, but it can be an indicator if you notice that your teeth are becoming loose or shifting.
In addition to the factors mentioned above, diabetic patients may also experience tooth loss due to:
- Poor nutrition
- Trouble regulating blood sugar and bodily functions
- Insufficient oral hygiene
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth
- Reduced blood flow (due to nerve damage)
In addition to tooth loss, dental implants may also fail or be rejected in diabetic patients. Diabetes limits the body's capacity to fight infection, thereby increasing a person's susceptibility to gum disease and post-surgical infections. Such is the case with dental implants that must be surgically placed in the mouth, making diabetics more vulnerable to potential postoperative contamination.
Diabetes And Mouth Sores
Some conditions that diabetes causes can increase the probability of developing mouth sores, especially in diabetics who smoke cigarettes. Such conditions include:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Nerve damage caused by high blood sugar levels
- Dry mouth due to lower saliva production
- Bacterial infections (such as gingivitis)
Mouth sores can be painful and may cause difficulty eating, drinking, and speaking. They can also be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be addressed by your dentist or doctor.
Thrush, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans (yeast) in the mouth. It occurs when the normal balance of microorganisms in our mouths is disrupted due to weakened immunity, antibiotic use, diabetes, or other factors.
Thrush usually appears as white patches or lesions on the tongue, inner cheeks, or roof of the mouth that can be removed, leaving a red and inflamed area. It can also cause cracks at the corners of the mouth, soreness, and loss of taste. In more severe cases, it can spread down the esophagus leading to difficulty swallowing.
Diabetic patients have also been shown to experience a variety of oral lesions that are not associated with candidal infection, including fissured tongue and irritation.
Ulcers And Canker Sores
Canker sores are shallow ulcers that can appear on the tongue, inner cheeks, and gums. They look like small red bumps with a white or yellow center and usually go away within 10 days without treatment.
Common causes of canker sores include:
- Oral trauma (biting or burning your tongue)
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Certain foods, like citrus fruits or spicy dishes
- Hormonal changes (e.g., during menopause or pregnancy)
- Stress, lack of sleep, or an unhealthy diet
Since B12 deficiency is highly prevalent in diabetics, the risk of canker sores is also higher.
For the same reasons, diabetics are also more prone to other forms of mouth ulcers. These can include chronic mouth ulcers, aphthous stomatitis (recurring canker sores), and geographic tongue (raised patches on the tongue).
Diabetes, Lifestyle Habits, And Dental Issues
Although the same issues equally impact both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, it is hard to ignore that obesity-related Type 2 diabetes has become a major public health concern. In fact, out of all cases of this condition today, between 90-95% have the latter—caused by poor diet and lifestyle habits. With obese populations increasing rapidly across the globe, these individuals also have an ever-growing risk for periodontal disease.
Beyond that, Type 2 diabetes can be caused by smoking, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption. Some of its causes can also induce tooth enamel erosion, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease—both serious dental issues that need to be addressed promptly by a qualified dentist.
Let's take a look at some of the most common lifestyle habits that can worsen the symptoms of diabetes and, in turn, may lead to or complicate dental problems.
Unhealthy Diet Habits
Diabetes is often caused by unhealthy diets that lack basic nutritional components such as fiber and vitamins A, C, and D. Such diets are low in minerals and nutrients that are essential for a healthy mouth. One of the most common consequences is dental caries, which can be caused by an excessive amount of sugar in the diet.
There are also several foods and drinks that damage teeth that also increase the risk of diabetes, including:
Candy: The high sugar content in candy is one of the leading causes of dental caries. Although sugar doesn't directly lead to diabetes, it certainly causes weight gain, which is a risk factor for the development of the condition.
Soft Drinks: The high acidity and sugar content in soft drinks make them a major contributor to dental caries. For diabetics, it is important to watch how much soda they consume as it can cause serious health problems.
Coffee and Tea: Coffee and tea as standalone beverages can stain teeth, but they aren't necessarily bad for diabetics. Unfortunately, many people drink sugary and fatty coffee drinks that can cause weight gain, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Starchy Foods: Starchy foods like potato chips, white bread, and crackers can settle between teeth and cause cavities. Most of these snacks are considered "empty calories" because they don't have much nutritional value. For diabetics, it is important to choose healthy snacks that are high in fiber and low in sugar.
Most of these foods are things that diabetics will have to limit their intake of to begin with. But for those who aren't, they can increase the risks of both dental and health problems.
The American Diabetes Association is among the numerous organizations and research institutes that point out the high correlation between excessive alcohol consumption and high blood sugar. There are three main ways that alcohol consumption can lead to diabetes further down the road:
- Alcohol-heavy diets are known to cause weight gain and abdominal fat deposits. As with sugary drinks, this can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Consistent, excessive drinking can lower the body's sensitivity to insulin and thus increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Drinking can lead to poor lifestyle habits—such as skipping meals or eating unhealthy foods—which can raise blood sugar levels and make diabetes symptoms worse.
- Chronic pancreatitis—a condition caused by excessive drinking—commonly leads to diabetes.
Heavy drinkers are also three times more likely to experience permanent tooth loss. But even moderate drinkers need to be cautious about their alcohol consumption and how it may affect their oral health. Sugary cocktails, late nights without proper oral care, and poor lifestyle habits encouraged by drinking can all contribute to tooth problems, as can staining from drinking tannic drinks like wine.
It's no longer a secret that smoking is potentially the worst thing you can do to your oral health. It has been linked to gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth cancer.
According to the CDC, people who smoke are also 30-40% more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. There are several reasons for this:
- Nicotine changes cells in your body, limiting their ability to respond to insulin.
- Smoking can damage your blood vessels, blocking the flow of oxygen and essential nutrients to cells.
- Chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause bodily inflammation.
Smokers should take extra precautions to protect their oral and overall health. Quitting smoking is the most important step, as it decreases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, among a long list of other serious health conditions.
Beyond regular health problems, smokers have a ten times greater risk of developing mouth cancer, and the effects of tooth decay, discoloration, gingivitis, and gum disease are more severe and happen more quickly in smokers than they do with non-smokers.
A growing body of research from NYU College of Dentistry shows the connection between vaping and oral health. Although it was commonly believed that vaping was a healthy and safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, that is not the case at all—and studies are quickly finding that vaping can be just as harmful.
According to one study —it was revealed that those who use e-cigarettes have a unique bacterial profile in their mouths compared to non-smokers. This potentially makes them slightly healthier than cigarette smokers, but considerably worse than non-smokers.
It's important to note that vaping is still considered a risk factor for developing diabetes. Since it still contains high levels of nicotine, it can still lead to insulin resistance. It can also raise your blood sugar levels, which is problematic for those who already have diabetes.
Aside from the proven and suggested risks associated with vaping, it's worth noting that there's danger in the unknown. Since smoking vape pens is a relatively new habit, there is a lot of evidence yet to be discovered. It's better to err on the side of caution when it comes to vaping and your oral health.
Dental Management For Diabetic Patients
Everyone should visit the dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning and checkup. This is especially important for those with diabetes, as they are at an increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.
During your appointment, your dentist will clean your teeth and look for any early signs of trouble. They may also take X-rays to get a better look at your teeth and gums.
They can also help you create a customized oral care plan that fits your specific needs. They may suggest certain products, techniques, or medications to keep your mouth healthy.
If you're concerned about how your health conditions might impact your dental health, there are several things you can do.
- Make positive changes to your lifestyle. Quitting smoking, exercising more, drinking less alcohol, and eating a healthier diet will all help to improve your oral health and manage your existing medical conditions.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications that might impact your oral health. Your doctor or dentist can help you manage any side effects of these medications and offer advice on maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Take steps to manage your stress. Stress and oral health are closely linked, and managing your stress levels can help improve your oral health. The same goes for diabetes—managing your stress can help you get a better handle on your physical health and appearance, reducing your risk of serious health conditions.
- Stay diligent with your oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing are essential for preventing oral health problems in people with diabetes or other chronic conditions.
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleanings. This is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, even if you have diabetes or other preexisting medical conditions.
If you have existing damage to your teeth from diabetes or a suboptimal oral care routine, your dentist can help you create an individualized teeth whitening plan to restore the health of your teeth and gums.
Want to know more? Here are some questions our customers frequently ask us.
Does Diabetes Affect Your Teeth?
Studies have shown that diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and even mouth cancer. The increase of sugar in your saliva can erode your teeth over time. Dry mouth is also a common symptom of diabetes, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Can Diabetes Cause Your Teeth To Shift?
Nearly 25% of diabetic adults ages 50 suffer from tooth loss related to oral health problems. Diabetes can reduce the amount of collagen in your mouth, reducing its ability to support the roots of your teeth and causing them to shift out of alignment or fall out altogether.
Which Toothpaste Is Best For Diabetics?
Colgate has united with leading Diabetes and Oral Health specialists to create a daily-use toothpaste specially formulated for diabetics – Colgate For Diabetics. Adhering to the highest of clinical standards, this Ayurvedic blend combines Jamun, Neem, and Amla extracts as key ingredients. Research conducted on the formula confirms its efficacy in providing superior oral healthcare benefits for diabetic individuals worldwide.
Should Diabetics Have Their Teeth Pulled?
People with diabetes must be careful when undergoing dental extractions, as the gum can become infected and lead to hyperglycemia. It can also result in the mobilization of fatty acids, which results in acidosis (i.e., too much acid in the blood).
Does Dental Work Affect Blood Sugar?
The pain, infection, and stress caused by dental treatment and its healing process cause your body to release epinephrine—a hormone that can increase your blood sugar levels and cause hyperglycemia. If you want to pursue dental extractions, in-office teeth whitening, or any other dental treatments, make sure you discuss your diabetes with your dentist and a healthcare provider first.
What Are The Signs Of Diabetes In The Mouth?
Typically, the first symptom of diabetes in the mouth is dry mouth. Other signs include inflammation, tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, sores, and mouth pain. In extreme cases, gum disease or fungal infections like oral thrush may occur. If this is the case, contact your dentist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and to discuss the best course of treatment.
Why Do Diabetics Get A Cottonmouth?
There are several reasons diabetics get cottonmouth:
- High blood sugar dries out the saliva glands.
- Neuropathic damage from diabetes can impact the salivary glands.
- Increased inflammation in the mouth can reduce saliva production.
- Certain medications used to treat diabetes have dry mouth as a side effect.
- Dehydration caused by high blood sugar
- Poor circulation makes diabetics more prone to infections like thrush.
Do Diabetics Need Antibiotics For Dental Work?
Antibiotics are usually administered after dental operations to prevent infections and reduce the risk of complications. If you have diabetes, taking these antibiotics is especially important, as infections can have a worse impact on people with diabetes, and diabetics have a higher risk of developing infections after a dental visit.
Can Poor Dental Hygiene Affect Diabetes?
The relationship between poor dental hygiene and diabetes is bilateral, meaning poor oral hygiene is a risk factor for diabetes, and diabetes can increase the risk of many oral health problems. Poor dental hygiene is linked to inflammation and increased symptoms of diabetes like dry mouth and poor blood sugar regulation, which increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
How Often Should Diabetics Go To The Dentist?
Ensure that your teeth and gums are cared for properly by scheduling a cleaning with your dentist at least yearly (or more often if recommended). Make sure to let them know that you have diabetes, as this is an important factor in the health of your mouth. If you're meeting all of your treatment goals, make it a point to visit both your doctor and dentist every 6 months. This will help ensure continued good oral hygiene as well as overall health.
Why Do Dentists Ask If You Have Diabetes?
There are significant links between diabetes and oral health. If you have high sugar levels in your blood, this also means that there is an abundance of sugar in your saliva. Bacteria thrive on sugar, and too much bacteria can lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. If you do not treat these issues early on, they can eventually result in tooth loss.
How Do Dentists Handle Diabetes Patients?
Prior to any dental procedure, the dentist will ensure their diabetic patients have consumed food and taken medications as prescribed. Otherwise, they may have a hypoglycemic episode. Depending on the circumstances, assessing or recording blood glucose levels could be necessary before further treatment can commence.
Can A Dentist Tell If You Have Diabetes?
Dentists cannot officially diagnose diabetes. And dental problems don’t necessarily indicate diabetes. However, dentists may be able to advise on whether or not you have diabetes based on the signs and symptoms they observe in your mouth. In this case, they will likely refer you to a doctor for further examination and diagnosis.
What Is The Link Between Diabetes And Gum Disease?
Without proper management, diabetes can cause an increase in glucose within your saliva, which encourages bacterial growth and plaque buildup. If these problems are neglected, gum disease may soon follow, attacking the soft tissue in the mouth area and slowly eroding away at your bones responsible for holding your teeth securely