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Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects more than 34 million Americans. Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose, and the two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, can affect people of various ages. While most people know of the reliance on insulin injections to help people with the disease process the glucose in their system, there are more unexpected ways that diabetes ravages your body — including your long-term oral health. Those who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing a slew of dental problems that require regular trips to the dentist. 

Gum Disease

For people with diabetes, periodontal disease is often considered a complication of the illness. Gingivitis can develop in any person that does not follow a regular tooth care routine at home. However, the risk and severity of gum disease occur more frequently in people with diabetes. The main reason for the more frequent bouts with severe gum disease can be attributed to how diabetes impacts a person’s immune response to infections, as severe cases can increase a person’s blood sugar. The longer a person with diabetes is in a state of increased blood sugar levels, the more likely they are to experience additional complications from their diabetes. 

Dry Mouth 

People with diabetes take several medications to help them manage the disease. Some of the side effects of these medicines include dry mouth — a condition leading to problems that go much deeper than soreness. Dry mouth causes bad breath, sore tongue or throat, and trouble speaking, chewing, or swallowing. Additionally, for our friends in Hamilton, NJ with dentures, dry mouth can alter the way your dentures fit inside your mouth. Ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation that develops into mouth sores, which heal more slowly in people with diabetes. 

Thrush

Thrush, a type of yeast infection, presents itself as white and red patches on your tongue and the inside of your cheeks. Thrush develops from a fungal infection and can cause a painful, burning sensation in your mouth. If you have dentures, the fungal infection can attach itself to the dentures and cause more complications. Your dentist may prescribe an anti-fungal medication to deal with the infection and give you directions on cleaning your dentures to prevent lingering fungus.  

How to Handle Your Diabetes and Oral Health

The good news for people with diabetes is that the ways to help keep their oral health in good condition are not that different or extreme than in non-diabetics. Develop and maintain an excellent dental hygiene routine, including brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and scheduling regular visits to your dentist. Keeping your blood sugar levels in a safe and manageable zone can help reduce their risk of developing gum disease and thrush. 

In addition to helping people with diabetes receive the best advice and care for their oral health, Hamilton Dental also performs single tooth implants in Mercer County, NJ, and beyond! Contact our team today to schedule an appointment!