Diabetes is characterized by an increase in blood glucose levels due to a reduced secretion of insulin. Most of us are aware of the effects diabetes has on the eyes, nerves, blood vessels, and kidneys. But not many know diabetes can also affect the gums.

Diabetes is, in fact, closely associated with periodontal disease.

In this article, Dr. Young H. Kim at Lincolnway Dental Center in Aurora, Illinois, explains the dental issues caused by diabetes you should be aware of.

Oral Manifestations of Diabetes

People with diabetes do not produce enough saliva and often experience the signs of a dry mouth. This can lead to cracking at the corners of the mouth and create a burning sensation in the mouth and tongue. Reduced salivary flow can also result in the development of tooth decay.

Periodontal disease affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth is among the serious complications caused by diabetes. Inflamed gums, bleeding, and purulent swellings are the most common symptoms.

Diabetes also affects the defense mechanisms of the body, making patients susceptible to other oral issues like fungal infections. Tooth mobility, tooth loss, and bone loss may also occur as the disease progresses.

Early eruption of teeth is observed in children with diabetes.

Why Are Gums Affected by Diabetes?

The increased glucose content in the gingival fluid and blood of people with diabetes alters the oral flora leading to the accumulation of disease-causing microbes that damage the gums.

Collagen levels are also decreased in people with diabetes and this can affect the gums and their ability to protect themselves and heal from gum disease.

Diabetic Oral Care

The following tips for oral hygiene should be followed by people with diabetes:

  • Brush twice daily, floss once a day, and rinse after every meal
  • Consume a low-carb high-protein diet and quit smoking as it may worsen the condition
  • Salivary substitutes can be taken to prevent drying of the mouth
  • Topical antifungals can be applied to treat oral thrush
  • Consult your physician and control your blood glucose level
  • Visit the dental clinic regularly
  • Oral prophylaxis should be done once every six months
  • Surgical procedures will be postponed until good glycemic control is obtained

To learn more about dental health issues caused by diabetes, contact Lincolnway Dental Center at (630) 897-1300 or visit us at 648 North Randall Road, Aurora, IL 60506.

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