Diabetes and dental care

November 15, 2015 - Dr Christine Nguyen-Khac

You know someone suffering from diabetes? And you wonder if their condition has any effects on their oral health?

The answer is yes.

Studies have established that people who suffer from diabetes are more at risk of gum disease and caries. When the blood sugar level isn’t controlled, medication and metabolic alterations can diminish the production of saliva in the mouth causing dry mouth. Without the antimicrobial action of saliva, there is accumulation of dental plaque and a higher incidence of caries.

The most common oral symptoms found in diabetics are:

  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Inflammation of the periodontal tissue (bone)
  • Sensation of oral burns
  • Ulcerations
  • Dry mouth
  • Alteration of taste
  • Fungal infections (caused by dysfunctional salivary activity and alterations to the immune system)

What must a diabetic do?

  • Maintain a meticulous dental hygiene.
  • Eat healthy
  • Stimulate saliva production

It is a vicious circle. A poor glycemic control can cause more dental plaque accumulation and a higher risk of periodontitis. People affected by periodontitis however can have more difficulty reaching a tight glycemic control, because they might develop insensitivity to insuline.
It is always important to mention to your dentist or dental hygienist all change to your medical health.