Blue circle for diabetesPeople living with diabetes are much more vulnerable to the germs that live in the mouth, and the dental problems that they can cause. As a result, people with diabetes are more likely to experience periodontal disease which results in infections of their gums and bones that hold the teeth in place.

Diabetes can also cause a decrease in blood supply to the gums making them more susceptible to disease. High blood sugar levels can also cause “dry mouth” and the decrease in saliva can contribute to an increase in tooth decay and plaque build up. Fact is, periodontal disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes and people who do not have their diabetes under control are especially at risk!

Controlling your blood glucose is essential to prevent tooth & gum problems. A side effect of diabetes & high blood glucose levels is that any infection in, or on your body can spread more easily.

Diabetes can also cause excess cholesterol to build up in the blood stream which in turn may accelerate the speed at which arteries may become clogged by the cholesterol. These blood vessel changes, and resulting thickened blood vessels can slow the flow of nutrients and the removal of harmful wastes from body tissues.

Diabetic patients who exhibit symptoms of periodontal disease should be treated promptly to eliminate any infection. Symptoms to watch out for include bleeding and/or sore gums, frequent infections and persistent bad breath.

Diabetics who receive regular professional dental care and have good insulin control, typically have a much better chance at avoiding gum disease, thus helping to prevent tooth loss.

As a diabetic you can also take these simple steps to help prevent the progression of periodontal disease:

1: Brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily.

2: Clean the tongue gently with a tongue scraper.

3: If you’re a smoker … quit now! A person with diabetes who smokes, is at a much greater risk for gum disease than someone who does not have diabetes.

4: Rinse with a chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse, available with a prescription from our office.

5: Be aware of your blood sugar levels, triglycerides and cholesterol levels and check them on a regular basis because when diabetes is poorly controlled, higher glucose levels will be found in the fluids in the mouth, which can encourage the growth of bacteria.

6: Regular exercise, together with the right diet will also improve your quality of life and your oral health.

7: If you notice bleeding gums when brushing your teeth, of if a bad taste seems to stay in your mouth, please see one of our dentists promptly.

8: It’s important to have your dental exams and hygiene therapy performed at the frequency recommended by the dentist.

We suggest making morning appointments for dental care because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at that time of the day. If you have any questions or concerns, remember that we’re here to help.

Yours for better dental health,

Dr. Allen Sun