If you have diabetes, it is important that you keep your appointments with your physician to maintain tight control over your blood sugar levels. In addition to this, because diabetes can adversely affect your teeth and gums, dental services such as oral examinations and professional teeth cleanings are also crucial to help maintain optimal oral health. Here are three ways diabetes can lead to tooth loss and what you can do about them:
Heightened Risk For Infections
Diabetics may have higher risks for oral infections than the general population. This is because when blood sugar is high, it tends to accumulate in the oral cavity.
Because of this, the risk for yeast and fungal infections are higher. When the mouth has high concentrations of blood sugar, it becomes a hospitable environment for fungi and yeast.
Long-standing, severe, or resistant oral infections can eventually lead to tooth loss. If you are a diabetic and notice white patches on your tongue or sides of your mouth, see your dentist. These may be indicative of a candida yeast infection, especially if the patches bleed easily, and will need to be treated with an anti-fungal medication.
Another reason diabetes can raise your risk for tooth loss is because it can impede the circulation inside your mouth. Optimal oral health, in addition to a good routine of brushing and flossing, is dependent upon good oral circulation. Without it, blood supply to your gums and roots of your teeth may suffer.
If you develop sore gums that bleed easily, or if your gums are extremely red and swollen, see your dentist as soon as possible for a checkup. Also, make an appointment with your physician, who will check to blood sugar and circulation to determine if they are within normal limits.
Effects From Medications
Certain medications used in the management of diabetes can also affect your teeth and gums. Some of these medications can cause an extremely dry mouth, raising your risk for oral infections. When your mouth fails to produce enough saliva to wash away infection-causing germs, gingivitis and dental abscesses can develop.
If your mouth is dry as a result of your medications, drink plenty of water throughout the day to help keep oral bacterial counts as low as possible. While drinking fluids can help, avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea, and limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages, as these can further dehydrate your oral tissues.
If you have diabetes, work with both your dental services professional and physician to monitor your oral status and general health. The sooner diabetes-related symptoms are recognized and addressed, the less likely you will be to experience tooth loss and gum problems.