People with diabetes are at special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, an infection
of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to
painful chewing difficulties and even tooth loss.
People with diabetes face a higher risk of:
Dry mouth : Dry mouth, often a symptom of undetected diabetes, can cause soreness,
ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
Gum inflammation (gingivitis and periodontitis) : A complication of diabetes
is that it causes blood vessels to thicken i.e. atherosclerosis, which slows the
flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth.
When this happens, the body's ability to fight infections is reduced. Since periodontal
disease is a bacterial infection, diabetics may experience more frequent and more
severe gum disease.
Poor healing of oral tissues : People with uncontrolled diabetes face the
problem of poor healing after oral surgery because blood flow to the treatment site
can be impaired.
Thrush : People with diabetes who take antibiotics to fight infections are
especially prone to fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives
on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.
People with diabetes who smoke are at even a higher risk than non-smokers for the
development of thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking also seems to impair blood
flow to the gums which may affect healing of wounds.
Good blood glucose control is key to controlling and preventing mouth problems.
People with poor blood glucose control get gum disease often and more severely than
the people with controlled diabetes. Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental
check-ups and controlled blood glucose are the best defense against the oral complications