Food and snacks we eat are converted into sugar which gives energy for the functioning of the body. Whether there is a problem in transmitting the sugar from the blood to the body cells (Type 1 diabetes) or the body does not react to the insulin that carries sugar to the body cells (Type 2 diabetes), it will end up in storing the sugar compounds in the blood. It results in diabetes.

Recent stats show that 72 million people in India are affected by Diabetes in the year 2017. The number gets accelerated in recent years.

You know that excess sugar in the blood affects all parts of our body including the mouth. If a person does not know he has diabetes, he/she can diagnose with certain symptoms or abnormal changes in his/her dental health.

In this post, we have explained those things along with the relation between diabetes and oral health.

How does diabetes affect our mouth?

When the level of sugar in blood increases, it makes the glucose present in saliva also increases. As our mouth is in wet condition and contains a myriad of oral bacteria, the sugar content in the saliva makes the mouth an environment to breed and grow.

The frequent contact of sugar substances with the teeth, gums and other tissues in the mouth through saliva increases the bacterial attack on the oral environment and cause various dental diseases.

What are the oral complications caused by diabetes?

Gum Disease – A diabetes sufferer has high chances of gum diseases like gingivitis, periodontitis. Sugar present in saliva combine with the bacteria and form a coating called plaque on the teeth over the gum surfaces. If it is not cleaned with Professional teeth cleaning, it will become harder and irritate the gum tissues under the teeth called gingiva. It will become worse over a period of time and lead to teeth loss.

Teeth cavities – Plaque and tartar build up developed by the mix up of saliva and bacteria are powerful to wear down the teeth’s enamel and cause dental caries or holes in the teeth.

Dry mouth – Blood glucose also cause xerostomia (dry mouth). It occurs by reducing the salivary flow in the mouth. When our mouth becomes dry, it obstructs the teeth to get minerals and fight against the bacteria. It will cause dental caries, Halitosis (Bad Breath) and other dental problems. Dentists reveal that dry mouth might occur due to certain medications taken for diabetes.

Oral burning – As the salivary production is minimized, the acidity in the mouth cannot be neutralized. It makes the sufferer encounter a burning sensation inside the mouth and persists for many hours. It is also known as Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS).

Thrush – It is a kind of fungal infection caused by Yeast Candida albicans. People who suffer from diabetes are highly vulnerable to this infection. It can be identified with red or white colored patches appear inside the mouth.

Dental tips for diabetic patients

Dental hygiene routine is the base thing for everyone to shield their oral health. Even a diabetic person can preserve his/her mouth and slow down the progression of the disease.

  • Prefer a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush twice a day. Remember that place the toothbrush at 45 degrees towards the teeth while brushing. It cleans the teeth as well as the gum regions and eliminates the oral bacteria resides on the gum surface.
  • Floss your teeth at least one time a day. It will extract the plaque developed between the teeth and the gum lines.
  • Switch to mouth rinsing after every meal.
  • Avoid smoking because it accelerates the colonization of bacteria which occurs more than the actual rates because of the blood glucose.
  • If you wear dentures or denture teeth, remove the fake teeth set when you go to sleep.
  • Follow a diet menu comprises of food items that maintain or keep the sugar levels in the blood.
  • Avoid acidic food.
  • Chew sugar-free chewing gums after every meal.
  • Visit your Dentist regularly for dental check-ups.

It is quite difficult to identify the progression of increased blood sugar. As we mentioned earlier, when you notice an abnormal thing in the gums like inflamed gums, red spots, bleeding or difficulties in the mouth like bad breath, metallic taste, burning sensation or any other, visit your Dentist immediately because it may be a symptom of Diabetes.