Diabetes & Oral Health


The average person isn’t doing quite enough to care for their teeth. 53% of people brush twice per day, and only 30% floss daily, according to surveys by Electric Teeth. But if you have diabetes, that may be even more of a problem There’s a strong correlation between diabetes and oral health issues.

People with diabetes are more likely to have problems with their oral health than those without the condition. This is because high blood sugar levels can damage the tissues in the mouth, making it more difficult for people with diabetes to fight off infection and increasing their risk for conditions caused by infections like abcessed teeth. Here we’ll look at the link between the two conditions and explore ways to keep your mouth healthy if you have diabetes.

What is Diabetes and How Does it Affect Oral Health?

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body can’t regulate blood sugar levels properly. This can cause various health problems, including damage to the nerves and blood vessels. This damage can lead to issues with oral health, such as:

  • Gum disease: Diabetes can cause gum tissue changes, making it more susceptible to infection. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss.
  • Dry mouth: Diabetes can cause a decrease in saliva production, which can lead to dry mouth. This can make it challenging to keep the mouth clean and lead to tooth decay.
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  • Thrush: This is a fungal infection in the mouth and throat. It’s more common in people with diabetes because the high blood sugar levels provide an ideal environment for the fungus to grow.
  • Burning mouth syndrome: This condition causes a burning sensation in the mouth. It’s more common in people with diabetes and can be challenging to treat.
  • Abscessed Tooth: This is a painful infection at the root of a tooth that forms a pocket of pus. Abscesses are serious conditions typically caused by untreated cavities that may require a root canal or extraction to treat.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes and Their Impact on Oral Health

There are a few different types of diabetes, but the most common are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood, while type 2 diabetes typically develops in adulthood. Both types of diabetes can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetes. It can be caused by several things, including dehydration and the body’s inability to use glucose properly. Fatigue can make it challenging to take care of your oral health, as you may not have the energy to brush and floss regularly.
  • Increased thirst: Increased thirst is another common symptom of diabetes. It’s caused by the body’s inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can make it difficult to produce saliva.
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  • Blurry vision: Blurry vision is a common symptom of diabetes. It’s caused by high blood sugar levels, which can damage the blood vessels in the eye. This damage can also occur in the mouth, impacting oral health.
  • Frequent infections: Frequent infections are a common symptom of diabetes. This is because high blood sugar levels can damage the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection. This can lead to gum disease, abscessed teeth, and thrush.

How to properly care for your teeth and gums if you have diabetes

If you have diabetes, taking good care of your teeth and gums is essential. Oral health conditions can have far-reaching consequences for your overall health if not promptly addressed.  Here are a few tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing your teeth regularly will help to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay.
  • Floss your teeth every day. Flossing will help remove plaque and bacteria between your teeth and gums.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for gum disease. If you smoke, quitting will help to improve your oral health.
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks. Sugary and acidic foods can contribute to tooth decay. It’s best to limit or avoid these foods and drinks if possible.
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Tips for preventing gum disease and other dental problems in people with diabetes

The best way to prevent gum disease and other dental issues is to control your blood sugar levels. This can be done by:

  • Eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet is vital for everyone, but it’s crucial for people with diabetes. A healthy diet can help control blood sugar levels and prevent the complications of diabetes.
  • Exercising regularly. Exercise can help control blood sugar levels and improve overall health. People with diabetes should aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
  • Taking medications as prescribed. If you have diabetes, taking your medications as prescribed is essential. This can help control blood sugar levels and prevent complications.
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly. This can be done at home with a home blood sugar monitoring kit.
  •  Seeing your doctor regularly. It’s essential to see your doctor regularly for check-ups. This can help catch any problems early and prevent complications.

If you have diabetes, it’s also essential to take care of your oral health, it is vital. This means brushing and flossing regularly, seeing a dentist every six months, and avoiding sugary foods and drinks. Following these tips can keep your teeth


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