Does diabetes affect oral health?

In honour of World Diabetes Day, Coastal Dental Care has all the information you need about diabetes and oral health. Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk of oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. If you suffer from diabetes, we advise paying special attention to your teeth and gums daily to ensure optimum oral health.

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases in Australia, affecting over 1.5 million people. Our aim at Coastal Dental Care is to equip you with some vital information to navigate oral health when living with diabetes.

Common Problems

As diabetes sufferers are susceptible to an array of oral issues, be sure to look out for signs of the following:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum abscesses
  • Mouth or tongue ulcers
  • Sudden change in taste
  • Fungal infections (thrush or candida)
  • Autoimmune conditions of the skin (lichen planus)
  • Dry or cotton mouth
  • General gum disease (periodontal disease)

If you have any of the above or loose teeth, mouth pain or excessive swelling or redness, please book an appointment. The longer these issues are ignored, the harder the problem is to treat. It is of the utmost importance to have regular check-ups at your local dentist and address any issues of concern.

Sometimes, your dentist can actually identify signs of diabetes before an official diagnosis is made. This is why we recommend regular dentist visits for everyone.

The Direct Effects of Diabetes on Oral Health

Having type 1 or type 2 diabetes can cause a host of issues in regard to your oral health. The causes for some of the problems listed above can stem from:

  • Less saliva in the mouth, meaning less protection for your teeth and gums (cavities)
  • Inflammation and bleeding gums, also posing a risk for infection and gingivitis
  • A noticeable delay in wound healing
  • Poor blood sugar control, creating excess bacteria and an increased risk of periodontal disease
  • Certain diabetes medications can cause dry-mouth or change in taste

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes affects mostly younger people. The disease develops due to reduced insulin production by the pancreas. It is usually treated with insulin injections, stabilising blood sugar levels in the body.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be seen in younger people, but mostly affects those in middle-age. It is usually brought on by lifestyle factors including obesity, lack of exercise and over-consumption of fatty and sugary foods.

This type of diabetes can result from insulin resistance within the body and decreased production of insulin. Treatments range from dietary changes and certain medications.

Our Recommendations

It is important to visit your dentist regularly, so we can best assess and manage any oral health problems caused by diabetes. Deep cleaning and thorough examination are some good ways your dentist can check oral health problems in patients with diabetes. In addition, research shows that managing and treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in diabetic patients.

In other reports, diabetes sufferers that have poor blood sugar control are also two times more as likely to develop gum disease. Having a committed dental routine at home will ensure good oral hygiene and promote a decreased risk for periodontal disease.

If living with diabetes, some ways you can promote optimal oral health are:

  • Eating a balanced and healthy diet
  • Keeping your blood sugar levels in check
  • Abstaining from tobacco products
  • Avoiding fizzy and sugary beverages
  • Brushing twice a day with a soft brush
  • Gentle flossing
  • Brushing or scraping your tongue to remove bacteria
  • Getting more exercise

How Can We Help?

Here at Coastal Dental Care, we are passionate believers in being able to assist in any dental issues, big or small. If you suffer from diabetes or any other conditions directly impacting your oral health, our team is here to help you. It is important to let your dentist know if you have diabetes. That way, we can create an oral health action plan to best help you.

We understand that managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment. Our commitment is to keep your oral health in optimum condition, just like the rest of your body. Our team of dedicated dentists, oral health therapists and oral hygienists are the experts when it comes to your oral health. It is generally recommended to visit your dental professional for a clean at 6-month intervals.

When you visit a Coastal Dental Care practice your dentist will also discuss your regular dental hygiene routine and the frequency of dental cleans required. If you follow the appropriate at-home oral hygiene routine and visit the dentist regularly, you will have a greater chance of preventing dental problems. Overall, will help you maintain your natural teeth for life.

Coastal Dental Care has several practices across the Gold Coast and for your convenience, you can easily book an appointment online.