Diabetes Can Lead to Severe Dental Health Problems

While diabetes can wreak havoc on the whole body, it can also cause major oral health problems. This problem is particularly severe when blood sugar levels are poorly controlled. Uncontrolled diabetes weakens white blood cells—the body’s main defense against bacterial infections in the mouth.

Specific health problems faced by diabetics include:

Dry mouthIf diabetes is uncontrolled, the flow of saliva can decrease, resulting in dry mouth. This condition can further lead to ulcers, soreness, infections, and tooth decay.

Gingivitis and periodontitisDiabetes causes blood vessels to thicken which inhibits the ability of the body to fight infections. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to more frequent and severe gum disease.

Poor healing of oral tissuesBlood flow to a treatment site can be damaged when diabetes is uncontrolled leading to slow healing after oral surgery or other dental procedures.

ThrushThe fungus that causes thrush thrives on the high sugar levels in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetics who frequently take antibiotics are particularly prone to developing thrush.

Burning mouth and tongueThrush can also cause this condition.

Smokers with diabetes are at an even higher risk. Their risk of periodontal disease and thrush is up to 20 times greater than that of nonsmokers. Smoking can also impair blood flow to the gums which can affect wound healing in this area.

If your patient has diabetes, you should get the name and phone number of their doctor or endocrinologist, so you can ask the professional questions about their health status. It is particularly important to talk to their doctor if oral surgery is planned. Also make sure to get a list of all of their medications. And if they are smokers, stress the need to quit!

Wiley University Services maintains this website. We are an advertising-supported publisher and are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored education offerings or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. We aim to keep this site current and to correct errors brought to our attention. Education does not guarantee outcomes including but not limited to employment or future earnings potential. View Advertiser Disclosure
Wiley University Services

©2023 https://www.dentalcareersedu.org All Rights Reserved.