Diabetes can make you more likely to have cavities and fungal infections. Other potential problems include:
- Difficulty fighting off infections, including those that might lead to gum disease
- Slower healing time after dental surgery
Dry mouth, called xerostomia, is common among people with diabetes. Saliva is important to oral health -- it helps wash away food particles and keep the mouth moist. When you don't produce enough moisture, bacteria thrive, tissues can get irritated and inflamed, and your teeth can be more prone to decay.
Even so, you can protect your teeth and oral health. Here's how.
Steps to Take
- Make sure you brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.
- Use an antibacterial mouth rinse twice a day to help curb bacteria that can cause plaque buildup on teeth and gums.
- Check your mouth for inflammation or signs of bleeding gums. If you notice either, let your dentist know as soon as possible.
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned every 3-6 months. Your dentist may suggest stepping up the cleaning schedule if you tend to build up plaque or tartar quickly.
- Make sure your dentist knows that you have diabetes. Give them the names of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take.
- Make sure your diabetes is well controlled.
Your dentist may refer you to a periodontist -- a dentist who specializes in gum disease -- if your gum problems persist or seem to get worse.