How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
Diabetes affects your whole body including your teeth and gums. The effect is even greater when your blood sugar is not well controlled, making it harder to fight bacterial infections.
If your high blood sugar is not well controlled, you may have more plaque bacteria than most people. This can put you at a greater risk for oral health problems. Plaque is a clear, sticky layer of bacteria that forms on teeth. If it is not removed, it can lead to tooth decay and infections, such as the gum disease gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. It is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) on the teeth, along the gumline. If you have diabetes, it is harder for your body to control plaque bacteria. That is why people with diabetes are 3 to 4 times more likely to get gum disease.
Be sure to see your dental professional if you have any of these symptoms:
- Red gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily
Diabetes and Periodontal disease
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis. This is a more serious form of gum disease. Over time, it can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, causing teeth to become loose.
Poor oral health can affect diabetes, too. If you have an infection like gingivitis or periodontitis, it can affect your blood sugar. That's why it's vital to practice good oral care habits at home and use a toothpaste and mouthwash designed to fight plaque and gingivitis – excellent care can help protect your oral health, as well as manage your diabetes.