Updated: August 5, 2021 3:34:04 pm
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can affect the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, brain, and other body organs, but did you know that it can also affect oral health?
People with high blood sugar levels are at an elevated risk of developing tooth and gum ailments because they have lowered resistance to infection. Also, diabetes can slow down healing, which may interfere with the treatment of periodontal disease, said Dr Abhijeet Sharan, DNB (general medicine), DTM&H, MACP, senior consultant physician (Medica North Bengal clinic).
An endocrine disorder, diabetes not only affects various organs of the body, it also has an impact on oral health, said Dr Sharan.
What are the common oral health problems that affect diabetics?
Gum abscesses, periodontal disease, fungal infections such as thrush, tooth decay, mouth ulcers, altered taste, and dry mouth.
What is periodontal or gum disease, and how does it affect people with diabetes?
Periodontal or gum disease is a type of infection that destroys the bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. The destruction of the bone that holds the teeth into the jawbone can cause difficulty in chewing.
Sometimes the destroyed bone can house bacteria and food debris, leading to the formation of plaque. If this plaque is left untreated on the teeth and gums, it can harden and form tartar around the gums, which may cause bleeding.
Symptoms of gum disease are
*Red, tender, bleeding gums with swelling
*Continual pus discharge from the gums
*Teeth get loose and pull away from the gums
*Deposition of plaque and tartar
Why are people with diabetes prone to tooth decay and cavities?
People with increased blood sugar levels have high sugar levels in their saliva with dry mouths.
“When interacting with the bacteria present in the mouth, the high sugar content of the saliva may cause the formation of acid, which slowly dissolves the enamel of the teeth, causing a cavity,” said Dr Sharan.
People with diabetes must regularly visit their dentist to get their teeth cleaned thoroughly. Also, they must maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent cavities and gum disease.
Why are diabetics at greater risk of developing oral fungal infections?
Oral thrush or candidiasis is the most common oral fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the yeast, which occurs naturally in the mouth. Dry mouth, high glucose levels in saliva and poor resistance to fight an infection contribute a perfect condition for the yeast to grow in the oral cavity.
“The oral thrush exhibits itself as white or red in the inner lining of the mouth. Sometimes the oral thrush can cause painful ulcers. By controlling the blood glucose levels people with diabetes can avoid developing oral thrush,” he mentioned.
How can people with diabetes take care of their oral health?
If you have diabetes and wish to prevent developing tooth and gum problem, it is advisable to:
*Add plenty of green and leafy vegetables to your diet.
*Take your medicine as suggested by the doctor.
*Clean your teeth with fluoride rich toothpaste twice a day.
*Clean your teeth with dental floss to avoid accumulation of food debris between two teeth.
*Avoid having a dry mouth – drink plenty of water or chew sugar-free gum.
*Avoid smoking cigarettes.
📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
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