Are Other Oral Problems Linked to Diabetes?
When diabetes is not
controlled properly, high glucose levels in saliva may help bacteria thrive
causing repeated acid attacks which can lead to one or more of the following
dentist see over 100 patients a year that have diabetes.
Young people with IDDM have no more tooth decay than do nondiabetic children.
In fact, children with IDDM who are careful about their diet and take good
care of their teeth often have fewer cavities than other children because they
don't eat as many foods that contain sugar.
Gum Disease. Diabetes
reduces the body's resistance to infection, your gums can become one of the
tissues likely to be infected when plaque and tartar are not removed
daily. It is possible to have gum disease
and not even know it. Diabetes also impairs the healing process and
periodontal abscesses can develop. This
is why regular dental checkups and periodontal
examinations are so important.
is an infection caused by a fungus that grows in the mouth. People with
diabetes are at risk for thrush because the fungus thrives on high glucose
levels in saliva. Smoking ,
required to take antibiotics often and/or wearing
dentures (especially when they are worn
constantly) can also lead to this fungal infection. Medication is available to
treat this infection. Good diabetic control, not smoking, and removing and
cleaning dentures daily can help prevent thrush.
mouth is often a symptom of undetected diabetes and can cause more than just
an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth. Dry mouth can cause soreness, ulcers,
infections, and tooth decay.
The dryness means that you don't have enough saliva, the
mouth's natural protective fluid. Saliva helps control the growth of germs
that cause tooth decay and other oral infections. Saliva washes away sticky
foods that help form plaque and strengthens teeth with minerals. You may be
able to try a different drug or use an "artificial saliva" to keep
your mouth moist.
Taste Impairment. Taste
may diminish and influence food choices in favor of sweet tasting foods with
highly refined carbohydrate content that may worsen a diabetic's dental and
Blood Vessel Changes. Thickening
of blood vessels is a complication of diabetes that may increase risk for gum
disease. Blood vessels deliver oxygen and nourishment to body tissues,
including the mouth, and carry away the tissues' waste products. Diabetes
causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients and the
removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken the resistance of gum and bone
tissue to infection.
Lichen Planus and Lichenoid
Reactions (inflammatory Skin Disease) Lichen
planus is a skin disorder that creates lesions in the mouth. Outbreaks
may be triggered by emotional stress. In some cases small pimple like
sores erupt in the mouth forming a white lacy like pattern. A more
painful type involves ulcers that erode surface tissue. A topical anesthetic
may help to reduce an relieve some of this condition.
Many kinds of bacteria (germs) thrive on sugars, including glucose -- the
sugar linked to diabetes. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose
levels in mouth fluids may help germs grow and set the stage for gum disease.
Tooth Loss. Serious periodontal disease not only can cause tooth loss, but
can also cause changes in the shape of bone and gum tissue. The gum becomes
uneven, and dentures may not fit well. People with diabetes often have sore
gums from dentures. If chewing with dentures is painful, you might choose foods
that are easier to chew but not right for your diet. Eating the wrong foods
can upset blood sugar control. The best way to avoid these problems is to keep
your natural teeth and gums healthy.
Infection and Delayed Wound
Healing. Infections will make it more difficult
to control blood sugar levels. To help the healing process after a
dental procedure keep your blood glucose levels under control before, during
and after the procedure, especially after oral surgery.
again dentists find themselves on the front lines of a
larger medical front. Dentists are well positioned to
help prevent and combat the complications of diabetes.
Treating gum disease in diabetic patients can help them keep
their diabetes under control. Evidence of this was noted
by Dr. Sebastian Ciancio in an April 2004 Dental Practice
Report article, "A conversation with Dr. Sebastian Ciancio."
"We have data that shows if patients are diabetic and we
periodontal disease, their diabetes improves markedly,"
Dr. Ciancio observed.
Plus, the American Diabetes Association Web site flatly
states: "Gum disease can make diabetes harder to control."
Dentists can be among the first to urge patients to get
tested for the chronic disease. As a dentist may be the
first health- care professional to suspect a patient has
diabetes, dentists can order appropriate tests or refer
patients to physicians to be tested.
National Oral Health Information Clearinghouse and American Dental
Advise your dentist about
your medical condition BEFORE dental treatment.