How Does Diabetes Affect Going to the Dentist

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If you suffer from diabetes, you’re already aware of the extra preventative measures you must take in order to maintain your health. You may not be aware, however, that the condition also has effects on your dental health, and will affect how your dentist approaches your oral care. Here are some of the issues involving diabetes and your oral health.

Diabetes presents a higher risk for gum disease.

Diabetes sufferers are at special risk for gum disease, both gingivitis and the more advanced form known as periodontitis. Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are among the first tissues to be affected. Gum disease happens when plaque that is not removed hardens into tartar that collects above the gumline. Because it’s harder to brush at this stage, it can create conditions that lead to chronic inflammation and infection in the mouth.

Dentistry focused on preventing tooth decay.

Saliva is usually the body’s defense against the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay, but when diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in saliva may help bacteria thrive. Tooth decay also occurs when your mouth is especially dry. When there’s less saliva to wash away germs and acids, you’re more prone to cavities. For these reasons, the dentist will talk to you about dietary habits and other measures to battle tooth decay, such as fluoride treatments and other procedures.

Fungal Infections and other concerns.

The mouth naturally contains bacteria, viruses and fungi that are typically kept in check by your immune system and oral hygiene. When it’s compromised, the fungi can proliferate and cause oral candidiasis, which is common among people with diabetes. Again, since saliva flow is often diminished, the conditions for fungal infections, such as thrush, are ideal. Thrush produces white or red patches in the mouth that may be sore or may become ulcers. It can also attack the tongue or cause difficulty in swallowing and tasting food.

Talk to your dentist.

Let us know if you have any form of diabetes and which medicines you take to control it. If you have been diagnosed, proper oral health care and regular visits to your dentist are absolutely vital. The dentist may recommend treatments more often, depending on your particular case. If it’s time for an appointment, give us a call today.