Individuals with diabetes produce less saliva, resulting in a dry mouth that can increase the risk of cavities. At the same time, elevated blood sugar levels make it more difficult to fight bacteria in the mouth putting patients at a higher risk of developing gum disease. Without appropriate care and attention dental issues can quickly progress, leading to pain, infection and tooth loss.
It is important for patients with diabetes to pay attention to their dental health. With good preventive care, including brushing, flossing, eating a balanced diet and regular dental exams, it is possible to maintain a healthy mouth.
Regular dental exams not only help to catch dental problems early, they can play an important role in the early detection of diabetes. As patients tend to visit their dentist more often than their physician, their dentist may be the first health care provider to recognize some of the early signs of diabetes.
Your dentist can provide you with advice on caring for your mouth and reduce the impact on your dental health. They can also recommend seeing a physician for assessment and treatment. Always let your dentist know of any changes to your mouth or general health.