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Dental Health & Diabetes

Looking after your oral health is important, especially when you have diabetes. People who have been diagnosed with diabetes, both Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes, are at risk for increased oral health issues. Diabetics are at increased risk of periodontal, or gum disease and notice a dry mouth, or increased thirst which are an early warning sign of the disease.

Why Are Diabetics at Greater Risk of Dental Issues?

When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva help harmful bacteria grow. These bacteria combine with food to form a soft, sticky film called plaque. Plaque forms from eating foods that contain sugars or starches. Some types of plaque cause tooth decay or cavities. Other types of plaque cause gum disease and bad breath.

Most common oral problems from diabetes

1. Gingivitis

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums, or gingiva. It commonly occurs because a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth.


· Swollen or puffy gums

· Dusky red or dark red gums

· Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss

· Bad breath

· Receding gums

· Tender gums


  • Daily brushing and flossing

  • Regular cleanings at the Launceston Dentaltown dentist

2. Periodontal (Gum) disease

Periodontitis, also called gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and, without treatment, can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss.


· Swollen or puffy gums

· Bright red, dusky red gums

· Gums that feel tender when touched

· Gums that bleed easily

· Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth

· Bad breath

· Pus between your teeth and gums

· Loose teeth or loss of teeth

· Painful chewing

· New spaces developing between your teeth

· Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal

· A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite


  • Deep cleaning at the Dentaltown dentist

  • Gum surgery in severe cases

3. Candidiasis (Oral thrush)

Oral thrush happens when a yeast infection develops inside your mouth. The infection is typically mild and rarely causes serious problems. But in people with weakened immune systems, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause potentially serious complications.

Symptoms of oral thrush

In its early stages, oral thrush may not cause any symptoms. But as the infection gets worse, one or more of the following symptoms may develop:

  • white or yellow patches of bumps on your inner cheeks, tongue, tonsils, gums, or lips

  • slight bleeding if the bumps are scraped

  • soreness or burning in your mouth

  • difficulty swallowing

  • a bad taste in your mouth

  • a loss of taste


  • Medicine that can be prescribed by the Launceston Dentaltown dentist to kill the fungus

  • Cleaning dentures and removing dentures for part of the day or night, and following instructions given by the Dentaltown dentist

4. Xerostomia (Dry mouth)

Dry mouth, or xerostomia refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth don't make enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Dry mouth is often due to the side effect of certain medications or aging issues or as a result of radiation therapy for cancer. Less often, dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands.

Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, limiting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Saliva also enhances your ability to taste and makes it easier to chew and swallow. In addition, enzymes in saliva aid in digestion.

Decreased saliva and dry mouth can range from being merely a nuisance to something that has a major impact on your general health and the health of your teeth and gums, as well as your appetite and enjoyment of food.


If you're not producing enough saliva, you may notice these signs and symptoms all or most of the time:

· Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in your mouth

· Saliva that seems thick and stringy

· Bad breath

· Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing

· Dry or sore throat and hoarseness

· Dry or grooved tongue

· A changed sense of taste

· Problems wearing dentures


  • taking medicine to keep your mouth wet that the Launceston Dentaltown dentist prescribes

  • rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse to prevent cavities

  • using sugarless gum or mints to increase saliva flow

  • taking frequent sips of water

  • avoiding tobacco, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages

  • avoiding spicy or salty foods that may cause pain in a dry mouth

If You’re a Diabetic, What Should You Do to Maintain Oral Health?

The following is a list of advice for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics.

  • · Visit Launceston Dentaltown dentist for oral hygiene check and cleaning twice a year, depending on your gum health

  • Floss and brush regularly twice per day with a fluoridated toothpaste

  • Decrease intake of sugary and refined foods and keep close watch of blood glucose levels

  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly

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