Diabetes affects your body’s ability to process sugar. All food you eat is turned to sugar and used for energy. You may feel excessively thirsty or have to urinate a lot. Weight loss and fatigue are other common symptoms. Diabetes can also cause you to lose consciousness if your blood sugar falls too low. Diabetes can affect every part of your body. Like other part of your body diabetes can affects our mouth too.
Glucose is present in your saliva—the fluid in your mouth that makes it wet. When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. Plaque also comes from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay or cavities. Other types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath.
Common problems in the mouth with diabetes:
- Gingivitis, Periodontists
- Fungal infections like candidiasis
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia)– decrease or lack of saliva flow in the mouth.
- Increased risk of dental caries
- A sore, or an ulcer, that does not heal
- Dark spots or holes in your teeth
- Pain in your mouth, face, or jaw that doesn’t go away
- Loose teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Changed sense of taste or a bad taste in your mouth
- bad breath that doesn’t go away when you brush your teeth.
Effects of smoking:
Smoking makes problems with your mouth worse. Smoking raises your chances of getting gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infections. Smoking also discolours your teeth and makes your breath smell bad. Smoking and diabetes are a dangerous mix. Smoking raises your risk for many diabetes problems like heart attack, stroke, nerves diseases, kidney disease and amputation. Smoking can also increase blood pressure and cholesterol.
Oral care in diabetes:
- Keep your blood glucose numbers as close to your target as possible. Your doctor will help you set your target blood glucose numbers and teach you what to do if your numbers are too high or too low.
- Eat a healthy meal and follow the meal plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have worked out.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride protects against tooth decay.
- Drink more water
- Ask your dentist about using an anti-plaque or anti-gingivitis mouth rinse to control plaque or prevent gum disease.
- Use dental floss to clean between your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps prevent plaque from building up on your teeth.
- If you wear dentures, keep them clean and take them out at night. Have them adjusted if they become loose or uncomfortable.
- Call your dentist right away if you have any symptoms of mouth problems.
- If you smoke, stop smoking.
See your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. Your dentist may suggest more visits if you need them.