A link exists between dental problems and diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Association, almost one-third of people who have diabetes also suffer from severe periodontal disease, and adults with poorly controlled diabetes are nearly three times more likely to experience advanced periodontitis than those whose disease is under control. Along with periodontal disease, people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes may experience a higher incidence of tooth decay and cavities. This increased risk is due largely to the amount of sugar present in the blood in a poorly controlled case of diabetes. As a result, people with diabetes experience higher rates of tooth loss than those without it.
Fortunately, people with diabetes can fight gum disease and tooth loss. The first and most important tool in doing so is controlling blood sugar levels. Once diagnosed, people with diabetes can work with their doctors to monitor blood sugar and make adjustments to control it via diet and/or medication. Controlling blood sugar can help reduce the risk of dental disease. As a person with diabetes, being aware that you may be more prone to gum disease and tooth decay can help, as well. Watch your gums closely, and see your dentist if you notice any redness, swelling, bleeding, dry mouth, loose teeth, or pain.
Conscientious oral hygiene is also important. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings. Talk with your dentist about your diabetes so she can monitor you closely and make recommendations as needed.
About the author: Dr. Vaishali Bhavsar is the owner of and dentist with Precious Dental Care, a family and cosmetic dentistry practice in Fremont, California. Every year, she takes more than 100 hours of continuing education to maintain the highest level of knowledge and care for her patients.