Are There Any Dental Problems Associated with Diabetes?

While many people associate diabetes with health issues, they rarely consider the dental problems that can happen as well. Diabetes can leave a patient at risk for a range of dental problems, including periodontal disease (gingivitis), thrush, and dry mouth. These conditions, if left untreated, can lead to serious dental issues and discomfort, which is why it’s important to see a dental care provider as a patient with diabetes. Let’s look at some of the more common dental issues caused by this condition and how they can be treated. 

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Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the more serious form of gingivitis, or gum disease, and can become serious if left untreated. On top of this, diabetes can slow the healing process, making it difficult to recover from periodontal disease. Signs of periodontal disease include red, swollen, tender gums, receding gumline, a bad taste or smell in the mouth, loose or falling out teeth, or sagging gumlines. Periodontal disease happens when bacteria infect the gums. These bacteria can live in pockets around the gums and teeth and cause serious damage to the surrounding tissues. As the disease attacks the gums and jaw bone, it can lead to loose teeth, which may eventually fall out.


Periodontal disease can be treated, though the treatment options depend on the stage of the disease. For example, early periodontal disease may be treatable with special mouthwash and antibacterial medications. However, gum surgery and deep cleaning may be necessary for more severe periodontal disease to remove the infection entirely. 


Since diabetes can lead to dry mouth and increase the glucose in your saliva, you may be more susceptible to getting thrush. Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth, and it can cause blisters, swelling, a white coating on the tongue, and other symptoms. If left untreated, it can be quite painful. Thrush is treatable and usually requires an antifungal treatment. If you have removable teeth, including full denture sets, you may need a special solution to clean your dentures. If you have diabetes and use an inhaler, you may be even more susceptible to thrush, so be sure to talk to your dentist if you notice any symptoms. 

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth (a lack of saliva) can lead to dental issues, including ulcers, soreness, tooth decay, and infections. If you are a smoker, these issues may become even more pronounced. Saliva plays many roles in your body, including keeping your teeth healthy. When you have less saliva, your mouth is more prone to infection by bacteria and fungi. On top of this, chewing, swallowing, and speaking may become difficult. Thankfully, your dentist can prescribe a medication to help keep your mouth properly lubricated, staving off these issues. 


If you have questions about dental problems with diabetes, contact Coolbreeze Dentistry at (972) 432-8811 today. Our team would be happy to answer your questions and help you make an appointment with our office. We look forward to hearing from you.