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Oral health

Blood glucose levels consistently above recommended target levels can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss. Even if you have dentures it is recommended you see a dentist every six months to assess denture fit and gum health, helping to avoid ulcers and infection.

Dry mouth, general and fungal infections, bad breath, mouth ulcers and poor or slow would healing are all more common with poorly controlled diabetes. Gum disease and poor oral hygiene is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. The good news is that most diabetes-related oral diseases can be prevented.

Gum disease is chronic inflammation that spreads from gums to ligaments and the bone that supports teeth. Gum disease can be caused by smoking, high blood glucose levels, poor nutrition, obesity, medications and stress. Signs of symptoms of gum disease include receding, red, swollen, tender, bleeding gums, bad breath, a foul taste in your mouth, loose teeth, pain whilst eating, tartar, pus abscess and tooth loss.

Tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria. The acid produced by the bacteria dissolves minerals in the teeth, forming holes or cavities. Risk factors include a high-sugar diet, irregular eating habits, poor oral hygiene and a dry mouth. Bad breath, chalky white, dull brown, grey or obviously loose teeth, as well as extreme sensitivity to hot, cold and sweet foods are symptoms of tooth decay.

How can I prevent diabetes-related oral disease?

Effective oral hygiene and management of your BGLs are the best way to maintain your oral health. Visiting a dentist every six months, maintaining a healthy balanced diet and drinking plenty of water also helps.

Basic oral hygiene involves flossing and brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and visiting your dentist every six months.