Diabetics Dental Care

Diabetes lowers resistance to infection and slows the healing process. People with diabetes have narrower than normal blood vessels, as they develop a thicker lining, fatty deposits in veins by a process called atherosclerosis. The result is that the gums receive decreased blood supply with less oxygen, fewer nutrients and less efficient removal of waste products.

Therefore people with diabetes are more prone to developing infections including gingivitis and periodontitis. They have a defective immune system which makes them more susceptible to disease. They develop more bleeding gums, pocketing, calculus (tartar) and bone loss. Infections and wounds also take longer to heal.

People with diabetes may suffer from decreased saliva flow, which in turn leads to increased dental plaque buildup and calculus (tartar) deposits.

We recommend

Maintain oral hygiene by brushing with a toothpaste that contains triclosan/copolymer at least twice a day, the use of dental floss daily, and tongue brushing

Undergo the treatment recommended for active periodontal disease

Take all medications prescribed by your dentist

Regular periodontal maintenance visits are must

Smoking cessation if applicable

Engage in adequate physical activity

Reduce weight, if applicable

Eat balanced meals with proper nutrition.

Oral health problems associated with diabetes

Tooth decay;

periodontal (gum) disease;

salivary gland dysfunction;

fungal infections;

lichen planus and lichenoid reactions (inflammatory skin disease);

infection and delayed healing;

taste impairment.

Mouth dryness

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a common complaint among diabetic patients. Constant dryness irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, often making them inflamed and painful. This condition greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal diseases.

We recommend rinsing with a fluoride mouthrinse or having a topical application of fluoride at home to prevent rampant tooth decay.

Using sugarless gum, sugarless mints, taking frequent sips of water or using melting ice chips may help alleviate a dry mouth. Restrict intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Oral conditions that are associated with diabetes

Oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth, appears to occur more frequently among persons with diabetes including those who wear dentures. Dentist may prescribe antifungal medications to treat this condition. Good oral hygiene is critical.

Lichen planus is a skin disorder that produces lesions in the mouth. Painful ulcers erode surface tissue. Dentist may prescribe a topical anesthetic or other medication to reduce and relieve the condition.