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In the United States, over 29 million people have diabetes. It’s one of America’s most significant (and growing) health problems. In order to minimize diabetes’ impact, patients need to be knowledgeable of the link to gum disease and other oral health concerns. It’s crucial that diabetics are aware of their oral health risks so that they can remain vigilant. While diabetes is connected to ailments throughout the body, your mouth is specially vulnerable.
Diabetics have three times the chance of developing periodontal disease than non-diabetics. And with about half of American adults already suffering from gum disease, it’s more dangerous and widespread than many patients realize. By learning the symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis, as well as other issues diabetes can cause in the mouth, you give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding additional health problems.
What Diabetes Changes About Your Mouth
Your mouth is constantly teeming with bacteria – some good, some bad, and all of them fluctuating based on what you put in your mouth and the overall state of your health. When diabetes comes into play, the fluctuating glucose levels lead to larger changes, which impact your risk of
- Gum disease – High glucose levels in diabetics’ saliva make their mouths more dangerous. The gums become easily irritated and swell, and without adequate oral hygiene gingivitis will develop into periodontitis, which attacks teeth and bones.
- Dry mouth – Diabetes medications can lead to dry mouth, in which there’s not enough saliva present to wash away harmful bacteria and acids. This increases the chance of cavities and irritated, inflamed gums.
- Slow healing – The body’s healing mechanisms slow when diabetes isn’t adequately controlled. This means that oral health concerns take longer to resolve, and infections are more likely to be severe.
- Oral pain – Diabetes can cause sore teeth and gums, and heightened tooth sensitivity.