Diabetes can harm your eyes, kidneys, heart, nerves and mouth. It might be surprising but even oral health of people who have diabetes can be affected. Such people are at higher risk for periodontal diseases which is the infection of the bone and gum that holds the teeth in place. Gum diseases can cause difficulties in chewing. Dry mouth is another symptom of undetected diabetes and it can cause ulcers, soreness and tooth decay. Smoking and consuming tobacco worsens these problems.
Ways diabetes can affect your mouth:
Too much glucose in your blood, caused due to diabetes can lead to infection, pain and other oral problems. Glucose is present in your saliva, which helps in keeping the mouth wet. If diabetes in not under control then high glucose levels in your saliva leads to the growth of bacteria. These bacteria strive on the food and forms a sticky layer called plaque. It generally occurs by eating sugary and starchy foods. Plaque is the root cause of cavities, bad breath and gum diseases.
If you have diabetes, gum diseases can turn out to be more serious and take longer time to heal. Also it can make the glucose in your blood hard to control.
Effects of plaque:
If untreated for a longer duration, plaque hardens into tartar and accumulates above gum line. It becomes complicated to clean and brush between teeth. Gums bleed easily and become red and swollen. This is a sign of gingivitis.
If gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. In this, the gums pull away from teeth and form spaces which later on get infected.
The infection can last for a longer time. The plaque continues to grow. If periodontitis is not cured, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. This loosens the teeth and you may need to remove them.
Common mouth problems from diabetes:
• Gingivitis: Unhealthy and inflamed gums which appear red and swollen.
• Periodontitis: Gum disease that can change from mild to severe.
• Candidiasis: The growth of naturally occurring fungus which the body cannot control.
• Dry Mouth: Lack of saliva which raises the risk of tooth decay.
• Oral burning: A burning sensation inside the mouth caused by uncontrolled level of glucose.
It is advisable for you to always check your mouth for signs of diabetes. If you encounter any problem, you should visit your dentist right away. Tender, swollen and bleeding gums are some of the signs of gum disease. At time you may not know what you are suffering from until a serious damage is done. The best way to prevent all these is by visiting your dentist twice a year and practicing good oral hygiene daily.