There is no doubt that diabetes affects many different areas of your health, but most people don’t think about its effect on oral health. In fact, diabetes can cause a host of oral health issues, some of which can be treated at home and some that need to be addressed by a dentist. Here’s what you need to know.
Why Diabetes Impacts Oral Health
When a patient has diabetes, it means that their body cannot regulate its own blood sugar. When blood sugar levels are high, it can cause a lot of other problems. One of these is that your white cell count will decrease dramatically. White cells are responsible for fighting off bacterial infections, which is the most common cause of tooth and jaw pain.
Oral Health Problems with Diabetes
If you have diabetes, there are certain oral health issues that you may develop over time. Sometimes these symptoms and problems will resolve on their own as you get your blood sugar under control. Other times the damage to your oral health can be permanent. Here are some of the most common oral health problems for diabetic patients:
- Diabetes causes dry mouth, which can instigate bacterial infections and tooth decay.
- Gum disease is a bacterial infection, so your risk is higher when you have diabetes.
- Poor healing from dental work
- If you have diabetes and frequent bacterial infections in the mouth and your doctor prescribes antibiotics, you could develop thrush (oral yeast infection).
People who smoke are at an even higher risk of oral health complications.
If you are a patient with diabetes, you should visit your dentist regularly to protect your oral health. Anytime you have tooth, jaw, or dental pain, you should make an appointment immediately. Especially for diabetic patients, it is important to get dental treatment as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the mouth.