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3 Common Dental Issues for Diabetics and Tips to Improve Oral Health

Diabetics often struggle with gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infection triggered by oral bacteria. High blood sugar levels can interfere with healing time, increasing the risk of damage to healthy teeth and gums. A healthy mouth is imperative for people living with diabetes. Learn how easy it is to improve oral hygiene and get back to regular dental care for a healthy smile.

Medical News Today reports people living with diabetes are more likely to have an intense inflammatory response to oral bacteria. Diabetics can save natural teeth and restore confident smiles by addressing symptoms of common oral health issues early, including:

1. Dry Mouth

Saliva is vital to preventing dry mouth. It washes away bacteria from teeth, can prevent tooth decay, fights germs, and strengthens tooth enamel. When the mouth is absent of saliva, its pH balance decreases, causing dental damage.

Drink plenty of water to prevent dry mouth, avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and coffee. Hydrating helps neutralize acids and plaque bacteria. After eating, rinse with water for at least 30 seconds or use an alcohol-free oral rinse to hydrate the mouth. Chew sugar-free gum with an ADA Seal of Acceptance to freshen breath, generate saliva, and combat bacteria.

2. Gum Disease

Mouth Healthy notes periodontal disease is common for people living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed. If not controlled or corrected, it can initiate gum inflammation, weaken gum tissue holding teeth, and cause tooth loss. Untreated gum disease can also create chewing complications, including an uneven bite. When periodontitis is left untreated, managing diabetes becomes difficult and can lead to potential harm in other parts of the body.

Preventative dental care is important. The connection between mouth and body health is stronger than we think. Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports symptoms of high blood sugar including bacteria growth and inflammation. Oral bacteria can travel from the mouth to the bloodstream, posing a health risk to the rest of the body.

Treatment for gum disease includes brushing teeth twice per day and flossing daily, particularly after eating or drinking. Additional safeguards include dental sealants, scaling and root planing, and dental treatments to remove tartar, plaque bacteria, and calculus buildup. Deep dental cleaning may require multiple appointments to treat dental issues including gum disease, cavities, or plaque build-up.

3. Mouth Infection

High blood sugar levels interfere with wound healing. When it comes to mouth cuts or sores, slowed healing can increase the risk of tooth decay and oral infections. With increased levels of glucose in the blood and saliva, diabetics are at high risk for developing thrush (oral candidiasis).

White patches, burning, and redness in the mouth may mean a person has oral thrush. It can also cause changes in or loss of taste. A metallic taste in the mouth can indicate the early onset of diabetes. Often referred to as diabetic tongue, this condition is caused by high sugar levels in saliva and a dry mouth, which can lead to oral thrush.

Those who have experienced thrush report feeling a “cotton sensation” in the mouth. If diabetics leave thrush untreated, it can quickly spread to the bloodstream and become life-threatening. Keeping blood sugars within the recommended range is the best way to avoid thrush and other yeast or fungal infections.

Dentures or Dental Implants for Diabetics

High blood sugar can make it harder to keep teeth and gums healthy. The American Diabetes Association Journal references a 2020 study on Oral Health Status of U.S. adults with and without diabetes. It reveals people with diabetes are more prone to losing permanent teeth due to dental decay or gum disease than non-diabetics.

Dentures or dental implants can be considered a solution for replacement teeth, but which option is best? We evaluate diabetic patients individually to decide if they meet the criteria for dental implants based on their age and health. Diabetics who have a low risk of post-implant infection may be healthy enough to meet implant guidelines. Even people with Type 1 diabetes may be suitable for dental implants.

Dental implants are not recommended for people with poor health, weakened gum tissue, or jawbone complications. These high-risk factors can prolong healing and recovery time. In this instance, dentures are the perfect option, along with a proper daily oral health and denture care routine. Three Rivers Dental is the proud provider of Comfy Fit Premium, Flexi Fit Partial Dentures, and Snap Fit Dentures. We offer 8 styles of comfortable and affordable full dentures and partial denture options.

Preventative dental care and improved oral hygiene will help preserve and protect teeth and gums. Three Rivers Dental Group helps patients plan their perfect smile with no fear sedation dentistry services and affordable payment plans. Get fitted for dentures instantly or schedule an evaluation for dental implant placement to restore smiles and replace missing teeth

Take action to correct dental issues with routine comprehensive dental and periodontal examinations. Contact us today by calling (1) 855-4-NO-FEARS or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located throughout the Pittsburgh area in Cranberry, Greentree, Greensburg, and Jennerstown.