Probably one of the most common diseases among us is diabetes. Diabetes affects nearly 24 million children and adults in the U.S. With diabetes being such a prevalent disease, I thought it would be beneficial to address how diabetes affects the mouth – diabetes oral health
Diabetic patients are at a higher risk for gum problems (gingivitis, periodontitis, oral infections, fungal infections); this issue is attributed to poor blood glucose levels. Therefore, one of the most important things a diabetic person can do is control their blood glucose levels (normal: 70-130 mg/dl). Some other things one can do to prevent serious issues with the mouth are to have good oral home care and to have regular six-month check ups with the dentist.
Here are some of the warning signs that you may have an oral infection that may be associated with diabetes:
- Swelling or pus around your teeth or gums or any place in your mouth; the swelling can be large, or as small as a pimple;
- Pain in the mouth or sinus area that doesn’t go away; and
- White or red patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks or the roof of your mouth.
Some of the signs of gingivitis and/or serious gum disease are:
- Bleeding and red, swollen, or tender gums;
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth;
- Pus between the teeth and gums (when you press on the gums);
- Bad breath; and
- Permanent teeth that are loose or moving away from each other.
One last symptom that is often associated with someone with diabetes, dry mouth. This may be caused by medicines you take. You may notice a dry mouth if your blood sugar levels are high. A dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities, because there is less saliva to wash away germs and take care of the acids they create. Some of the best things to help with dry mouth are to suck on sugar free mints, use artificial wetting agents (such as Biotene), suck on ice, or drink water frequently.
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