People with poorly controlled diabetes are more susceptible to dental problems. They are more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold the teeth in place, because diabetes can reduce the blood supply to the gums. In addition, high blood sugar may cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. The decrease in saliva can cause an increase in tooth-decaying bacteria and plaque buildup.
When a person with diabetes has good blood sugar control, there's no increased risk of dental problems.
Don White, 68, a retired science teacher from upstate New York, first
suspected he had type 2 diabetes when he was 45
years old and his school held a health fair for students and teachers. A simple
prick of his finger to test for high blood sugar -- a sign of diabetes -- revealed some
"My numbers were way above normal," says White. "In a matter of
days, and a couple of doctor's appointments later, I found out I had type 2
White and his family were surprised by...