Diabetes can affect your whole body, including your mouth. So you’ll want to take special care of your teeth and gums. It’s also important to manage your blood sugar. Over time, increased levels of blood glucose can put you at risk for oral health problems.
For most people, a blister, cut, or scrape on the foot is no big deal -- an "ouch!" and a hurriedly applied bandage, and it's over. Not so if you have diabetes; meticulous daily foot care is as important as monitoring blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.
"Unfortunately, diabetes foot-health awareness doesn't have a colored ribbon or national voice," says foot care expert James Wrobel, DPM, of the University of Michigan Medical School. "If you don't manage them early, small problems...
Dry mouth, which can lead to soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
Inflammation in your gums.
Thrush. People with diabetes who often take antibiotics to fight infections are more likely to get this fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. It can give your mouth and tongue a burning feeling.
You can do a lot to avoid these problems, starting with the basics of taking good care of your mouth, teeth, and gums.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: "Prevent diabetes problems: Keep your teeth and gums healthy."
American College of Periodontology: "Mouth Body Connection."
American Dental Association.