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Diabetes & You

Mon Nov. 13th 2017

(courtesy of NZDA)

If you have diabetes, you need to take extra care of your mouth. People with poor glycaemic (blood sugar) control are more likely to develop problems in the mouth. Similarly, people with poor oral health can experience difficulties in controlling their blood glucose/sugar levels.

To maintain good diabetes control and avoid dental problems, take good care of your mouth

Dental problems linked with diabetes include:

The link between gum disease and diabetes

People with diabetes, especially those who have unstable blood sugar levels are more likely to develop gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that hold your teeth in place. Similar to other infections in your body, gum infection can make your blood glucose levels hard to manage.

Gums can be red, swollen and tender caused by a build up of plaque at the gum line where the tooth and the gum meet. Over time, plaque bacteria destroy the gums, causes recession, making them look longer and teeth start to feel wobbly/loose. The damage caused by advanced gum disease (Periodontitis) is not reversible but the problem can be prevented from getting worse.

Gum disease can start at any age- children and teenagers who have diabetes are at greater risk than those who dont have diabetes.

Warning signs of gum disease:

Fungal Infections

Having high blood glucose levels or taking antibiotics makes you more likely to have fungal infections such as thrust. This is seen as patches of white film or small rest dots that can be painful in the roof of the mouth, or corner of the lips.

Dry Mouth

High blood glucose can cause dry mouth, or xerostomia, where the mouth becomes very dry due to reduced saliva flow. It is also a side effect of some medications such as antihistamines, painkillers, antihypertensives, diuretics, antidepressants and others. People suffering from dry mouth are more likely to suffer from tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath.

Steps to keep your mouth and body healthy:

Checklist for visiting your dentist:

We're here to help, and give you advice- please don't hesitate to contact us and see one of our dentists/hygienists to help keep your mouth healthy and your diabetes stable.

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