vector graphic of a digital blood sugar tester for diabetics

Do you or someone you know have diabetes? Are you aware of the effect this disease can have on oral health? People with diabetes are susceptible to many oral health conditions, and there is a link between diabetes and gum disease.

People with diabetes who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels are at higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease than non-diabetics. Diabetes lowers the body’s resistance to infection and slows the healing process.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, it’s essential to keep your blood sugar levels under control and be attentive to your oral health needs. The initial signs and symptoms associated with diabetes can start in the mouth. By paying close attention to your oral health, you can seek early diagnosis and treatment.

Common Oral Health Problems Affecting Diabetics

  • Gum disease
  • Fungal infections such as thrush
  • Lichen planus (an inflammatory, autoimmune skin condition)
  • Abscesses
  • Tooth decay
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dry, burning mouth
  • Altered sense of taste

The Link Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Diabetes may cause blood vessels to become thicker, which interferes with the flow of nutrients and waste removal. The interference weakens resistance and increases the risk of developing gum disease.

Gum disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease capable of destroying your gums, the tissues supporting your teeth, and the jawbone. The infection can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which can contribute to the progression of diabetes. So, for these two conditions, one can affect the other.

Steps to Help Prevent Complications

  • Take diabetes medications as instructed
  • Monitor blood sugar levels
  • Follow ADA (American Diabetes Association) dietary recommendations
  • Exercise regularly
  • No smoking

Also, be sure to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and flossing once a day. Get regularly scheduled exams and cleanings. Inform us of any abnormal changes to your blood sugar levels before any treatment. When was your last dental visit? Contact my office to schedule an appointment.


Dr. Sehnert