How Diabetes Affects Your Mouth

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Living with diabetes can be challenging. This disease affects your body in many different ways, including causing problems in your mouth. It can put you at greater risk of developing a variety of dental issues. However, there is good news; by controlling your blood sugar levels and improving your oral hygiene you can minimize the negative effects of diabetes on your mouth.

Simpsonville, SC dentist Dr. Ryan O’Malley can help you. At O’Malley Dental, we offer a full range of services to treat patients dealing with oral health complications from diabetes.

Diabetes and Dental Problems

High blood sugar caused by diabetes can take a toll on your mouth. If your diabetes is not well managed, you are more likely to experience dental problems such as:

  • Dry mouth- Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is caused by a reduced amount of saliva in your mouth. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms including a sore throat, a burning feeling in your mouth and trouble swallowing or speaking. Dry mouth can also make it easier for teeth to decay since saliva is needed to protect and repair teeth.
  • Cavities- Unmanaged diabetes increases the amount of sugar in your saliva as well as your blood. The bacteria in your mouth can feed on this sugar to create plaque, a soft, sticky substance that forms on your teeth. This plaque attacks your teeth and, if not removed with proper dental care, causes cavities.
  • Gum disease – High blood sugar levels make it more difficult for your body to defend itself against all types of infections. That’s why people with uncontrolled diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease, a bacterial infection of gum tissue and the bone structure that supports teeth. In its early stages, symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums that bleed easily, but if left unchecked it can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease can also make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.