How Diabetes I and II Affect Your Oral Health

Some medical conditions, like a broken leg or a fever, are immediately obvious to the person impacted by them. However, adults can suffer “silent” medical conditions that have few overt symptoms until the disease is fairly advanced, making treatment more challenging.

Diabetes, both type I and type II, can progress without the patient’s knowledge and cause oral health issues. In fact, the oral health connection to diabetes is so strong that research has shown that adding a diabetes point of care A1C test is effective in diagnosing patients displaying clinical symptoms for it.

How Diabetes Impacts Your Oral Health

One of the main aspects of untreated diabetes is that it produces higher than normal blood sugar. This can cause or exacerbate a multitude of problems in your mouth, including but not limited to:

Dry mouth, or reduced saliva flow, which can hasten tooth decay.

Thrush, which can be caused by frequent antibiotic use – and diabetics are more susceptible to infections than non-diabetics.

Cavities, which may form because a reduced saliva flow can accelerate the formation of bacterial plaque and tartar in the mouth.

Periodontal disease, which can be the result of tartar/plaque buildup and chronic inflammation.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy If You Are Diabetic

A diagnosis of diabetes doesn’t spell doom for your smile. You can maintain your oral health after your diagnosis by partnering with your dental provider and committing to a self-care regimen that includes:

oral-healthMonitor your blood sugar levels closely and aim to keep them under control.

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily.

Share your medical and oral health history with both your dentist and your family doctor.

Have dental infections treated promptly.

Notify your dentist if your dentures do not fit properly or if your gums are sore.

Visit your dentist for regularly scheduled checkups.

“Diabetes doesn’t have to impact your oral health in a negative way,” says Dr. Melanie Bauer, a dentist in practice at Dr. Carol Ford & Associates in central Phoenix. “Our practice is happy to discuss your needs as a diabetic patient and how we can help you keep your smile, and the rest of your body, healthy.”

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