Diabetes and Oral Health

September 15, 2023

By Dr. Nicole Shen

Diabetes is a condition that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels and has far reaching effects that can also impact oral health. People living with diabetes face a higher risk of:

Gum Disease: Diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection, making the gums more susceptible to bacterial growth. This can lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and, if left untreated, progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss.

Delayed Healing: Diabetes can slow down the body’s ability to heal, including oral tissues. This may be a concern after dental procedures or in the case of oral injuries.

Dry Mouth: Some diabetes medications can cause dry mouth (xerostomia), a condition where there is not enough saliva production. Saliva is essential for washing away food particles and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, so a lack of saliva can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral problems.

Interestingly, a study has also found that people with Type II diabetes that regularly brushed their teeth and maintained good oral hygiene had better control of their blood sugar levels. Therefore, it is especially important for people with diabetes to maintain a regimen of proper home care technique (brushing and flossing) and schedule regular dental cleanings and check-ups.

This article was published on 09-15-2023 in The Altamont Enterprise.