Type 2 diabetes can leave you at an increased risk of developing some dental health problems as the condition impairs your white blood cells, which would normally defend your mouth against many of the harmful effects of bacteria.
Understanding how diabetes can impact on your oral health will allow you to look out for specific problems when cleaning your teeth, and seeking early treatment can prevent the need for antibiotics and reduce the risk of tooth loss. Here's and overview of common dental health problems associated with type 2 diabetes.
Gum disease can occur when your white blood cells are unable to control the amount of bacteria in your mouth, and typical symptoms include bleeding gums, localised swelling, receding gums, and bad breath. An overgrowth of bacteria triggers an inflammatory reaction in the soft tissue of your gums and creates an environment that's perfect for plaque formation.
Additionally, diabetics tend to have problems with their circulation due to thickened blood vessels, so blood flow to your mouth may be reduced. This can contribute to the development of gum disease by impairing your mouth's ability to heal or fight off infections as it's harder to access the nutrients in your blood.
Saliva plays an important role in your oral health as it's alkaline and creates a hostile environment for bacteria. Both type 2 diabetes and some medications used to treat the condition can leave you with a dry mouth, which creates an acidic environment. When your mouth is too acidic, you're at an increased risk of developing ulcers and tooth decay. Additionally, as the acid wears down your tooth enamel and creates tiny holes your teeth, bacteria can reach the roots and pulp of your teeth and leave you with abscesses.
Impaired white blood cells can also put you at risk of developing oral thrush as your immune system can't fight off the fungus responsible for the condition. Your risk increases even more if your blood sugar levels aren't well-controlled as the sugar levels in your saliva can spike and fungus feeds on sugar. Oral thrush causes white patches of candida fungus to grow on your tongue, gums and back of your throat. It can make chewing and swallowing painful and the soft tissues of your mouth may bleed when you brush your teeth.
Regular dental check-ups can allow common dental health problems to be detected and treated before permanent damage is done to your teeth or gums. If you're overdue a check-up or are concerned about the impact of type 2 diabetes on your dental health, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.Share
13 August 2015
Miranda Raff here. My brother is a stressed-out dental student, so I'm starting this blog on his behalf. I work in a travel agency and my brother is mortified by the number of dental tourism stories I bring home. I book short holidays for people who seem as though they are going to enjoy some relaxation in an exotic country, only to learn that they plan to have cheap dental procedures. Whilst there are good dentists in developing countries, according to my brother, the complex procedures these people plan to have simply can't be finished in such a limited time. This blog is an attempt to inform you about the high skill levels and advanced technology found in Australian dental surgeries. New techniques are being developed every year and Australian dentists are at the forefront of offering these solutions. I really hope this blog helps you to appreciate our dentists.