Amanda Delwiche D.D.S.

Diabetes and Dental Health

October 24, 2013
Posted By: Julie Murphy, RDH


Diabetes and Dental Health


Research shows that there is an increase in the prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes. People with diabetes are two times more likely to develop gum disease. Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes goes both ways. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes. Diabetes makes the body more susceptible to bacterial infection, so people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight germs that invade the gums.


There are several other oral problems people with diabetes may face. Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow causing dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections and tooth decay. Another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. Diabetics also have impaired white blood cells function. With this combination the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal as quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired. Also when diabetics have to frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections they are prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth known as Candidiasis or thrush. This is a fungus that thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. This can result in a burning mouth or tongue.


In order to maintain their oral health people with diabetes may need more frequent teeth cleanings. It’s important to take good care of the teeth and gums at home with thorough brushing and flossing along with regular checkups. Keeping blood glucose level under control is first and foremost. Good blood glucose control can also help prevent or relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.

Amanda Delwiche, DDS

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