Diabetics, especially those that are poorly controlled, can suffer from many oral conditions. The high sugar levels in the bloodstream cause the infection fighting cells of the body to stop working properly which puts diabetics at a much higher risk of getting infections all over their body, including in their mouth. This means diabetics have a higher rate of gum disease (periodontitis) and may find that their gums bleed frequently and teeth eventually become loose. The severity of this disease increases dramatically in smokers.
As part of regular dental care, it is strongly recommended that diabetics visit their hygienist frequently to prevent or control gum disease. Hygienists provide valuable education for tooth and gum maintenance at home.
Diabetics produce less saliva, which is the body’s best natural defence against tooth decay. With less saliva teeth can decay at a rapid rate so again, regular dental check-ups are a must. Other effects of poor saliva flow include: fungal overgrowth, or thrush, within the mouth, bad breath, a decrease in the ability to taste and enjoy foods and ulcers following minor trauma such as tooth brushing.
Diabetics experience slower healing of wounds so regular check-ups are important to avoid the removal of teeth.