The connection between diabetes and oral health

The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Care

Maintaining excellent dental health is not an easy challenge, and it becomes more difficult when you have diabetes. The elevated sugar level in the blood is the link between dental health and diabetes. This elevated blood sugar level raises the risk of gum disease, periodontal disease, and tooth decay in the mouth. If you have diabetes and are over 50, your risk is significantly higher. Oral issues and aging occur inextricably linked to whether you have diabetes or not.

Diabetes impairs your body's capacity to use glucose, often known as blood sugar, for energy. Diabetes can produce several issues. Nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, renal illness, and even blindness are examples. Gum disease and other oral health issues are another major health concern.

Diabetes puts people at a higher risk for gingivitis, gum disease, and periodontitis, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes impairs your capacity to combat germs that lead to gum infections. Gum disease can also have an impact on blood sugar regulation. Diabetes patients are more prone to have a severe inflammatory reaction to the bacterium. High blood sugar levels can impede the healing of wounds and raise the risk of gum injury, which raises the incidence of infection and gum disease.

As a result, persons who are unable to maintain adequate blood sugar levels are more prone to have oral symptoms, which includes

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Soreness
  • Tooth loss

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition among diabetics. According to some sources, it affects nearly 22% of people with diabetes. Other research indicates that in the United States, nearly one-quarter of people over the age of 50 with diabetes will suffer extreme tooth loss, particularly in comparison to about 16% of individuals without diabetes.

Evidence suggests that people with type 2 diabetes are roughly three times more likely to experience dental issues than those who do not have the condition. Individuals who have type 1 diabetes are also at a higher risk.

Diabetes patients commonly experience oral issues like:

Gum disease:

It is one of the most prevalent and significant diabetes-related oral problems. Uncontrolled blood sugar levels raise the likelihood of mild to severe gum disease. A person may encounter the following conditions:


It is a gum infection and is frequently the initial stage of gum disease. When plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth along the gum line, this condition occurs. This causes discomfort and inflammation of the gums, which can be painful and cause the gums to bleed readily.


It is the term used to describe an infection of the gums and bones that support the teeth. It is usually caused by untreated gingivitis. The gums of a person may move away from the teeth, forming microscopic pockets. Bacteria can enter these spaces, produce a gum abscess, and start destroying the gums and bone. This problem, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.

Dry mouth:

It is also known as xerostomia. Diabetes and aging (particularly in women) both reduce saliva production. This puts you at risk for dry mouth, also known as xerostomia by your doctor. Saliva is the source of the enzymes that fight microorganisms. Bacteria thrive in the absence of it. Dry mouth can cause not just sores and ulcers but also increased tooth decay and gum disease.

Dental cavities:

Many different species of bacteria live in your mouth. Plaque builds on your teeth when carbohydrates and sugars in meals and beverages interact with these bacteria. Plaque acids assault the surfaces of your teeth (enamel and dentin). Cavities and gum disease might result from this. The higher your blood sugar level, the more carbohydrates and starches are available — and the more acid is present to erode your teeth.

Burning mouth syndrome:

Both thrush and dry mouth can cause burning mouth syndrome. Certain drugs, especially those used to treat high blood pressure, can also have this effect. In addition to feeling like you just scalded your tongue with coffee, your mouth may tingle or feel numb. You may lose part of your flavor. Aging might also cause this. This isn't actually bad until you compensate for the loss of flavor by adding sugar to your diet. This raises the likelihood of acquiring cavities and gum disease.

How to prevent oral issues?

The American Dentist Association emphasizes the need to practise excellent oral hygiene at home, attend regular dental checkups, and make lifestyle choices that enhance oral health.

The following are general tips for maintaining excellent dental health:

  • Cleaning the teeth for around 2 minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Daily brushing between the teeth with dental floss, interdental brushes, oral irrigators, or wood sticks.
  • Consuming a diversified diet that excludes sugary beverages and snacks.
  • Attending frequent dental checkups to aid in the prevention and treatment of oral disease.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Say no to oral piercing
  • Drink water that contains fluoride
  • Brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after eating to prevent any tooth enamel that has been damaged by acid in the food.
  • Take your dentures out and clean them every day if you wear them. You should not sleep in them.
  • Keep your blood sugar on track
  • Look at your early signs and symptoms of oral issues

Diabetes management is a lifetime responsibility, which includes good dental care. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Furthermore, the ADA emphasizes the significance of controlling blood sugar levels for excellent dental health. This is due to the fact that adequate blood sugar control might aid in the prevention of oral infections and dry mouth. Taking drugs, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and exercising frequently are all suggestions for regulating blood glucose levels.

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