You probably didn’t realise but keeping your mouth, teeth and gums healthy is an important part of managing diabetes. Having diabetes means you’re more at risk of dental problems like gum disease, also called periodontal disease.
Most people will develop gum disease at least once in their life, but when you have diabetes, you’re more at risk and it can start at an earlier age.
High glucose levels can lead to more sugar in your saliva, and that’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria produce acid which attacks your tooth enamel and damages your gums. The high blood sugar levels can also damage the blood vessels in your gums, making them more likely to get infected.
Gum disease can make it more difficult for you to manage blood glucose levels as well, as the bacteria can increase insulin resistance and, therefore, increase blood glucose levels.
Spotting signs of gum disease
The early signs of problems are things like redness, bleeding gums, soreness and bad breath. If you notice these, don’t ignore them and make an appointment with your dentist. Getting the right treatment early can prevent severe infections, tooth loss and other complications in the future.
Other oral health complications
Apart from gum disease, diabetes can also increase the chances of decay, mouth ulcers that can take a long time to heal and fungal infections due to changes in the flora of our mouth.
Steps to take
- Keep blood glucose levels within the target range.
- Keep good oral hygiene – brush at least twice a day and floss regularly too.
- Regular routine dental and hygiene visits to help spot these problems early and stop them from getting worse.
- Talk to a dentist if you have any concerns.