Gum disease is very common and most people will get it at least once in their life. People with Type 2 diabetes (a condition in which the body does not make or use insulin very well) are around three times more likely to develop dental problems than people who don’t have diabetes. People with Type 1 diabetes (a condition in which the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or makes very little insulin) are also more at risk.
One of the most common causes is having high sugar levels in the blood for a long period of time. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to more sugar in your saliva, and that’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria produces acid which attacks your tooth enamel and damages your gums.
High blood sugar levels can also damage the blood vessels in your gums and this makes them more likely to get infected.
Spot them early enough to get the right treatment from your dentist. A big part of this is about regularly checking your blood sugars and trying to keep to your target range.
Types of dental problems linked to your diabetes can be:
1. Tooth decay
2. Gum inflammation (gingivitis)
3. Dry mouth (xerostomia)
4. Fungal infections (oral thrush)
5. Irritated and sore mouth, meaning you might have difficulty wearing dentures
6. Tooth loss
How to keep your mouth healthy?
Check your blood sugar at regular intervals.
Brush your teeth twice a day.
Keep the plaque off by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
Follow a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar.
Quit smoking - smoking weakens your immune system, making it harder for you to fight gum infections. Further, smoking makes it harder for your gums to heal in case of any gum disease.
Keep your dentures clean – if you wear them, make sure you clean them regularly as a build-up of bacteria can lead to oral thrush.
Regular dental visits are important.
Use a Chlorhexidine mouthwash regularly before going to bed.
Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c (Glycosylated Haemoglobin). This gives an indication of the average level of your blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months.