Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. If the blood glucose is high, the body loses fluid, causing all the tissues to become dry. This occurs because the body produces excess of urine, thereby depleting the body of water, to remove excess glucose from the blood.
Diabetes causes oral problems
If you have diabetes, you are prone to a compromized oral tissue condition. Oral problems are therefore very common in people with diabetes. Blood glucose provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi and it can reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. These factors put people with diabetes at greater risk for oral problems. In fact, 33% of people with diabetes will have a skin or mucous tissue disorder related to diabetes at some point in their lives. There is also a strong relationship between diabetes and dental caries as well as with bad breath (halitosis).
Current studies tend to support a higher incidence and severity of periodontitis in patients with diabetes mellitus; the prevalence of diabetes in patients with periodontitis is double that seen in the non-periodontitis patients.
Dry mouth is the term used to describe a lack of moisture in the mouth, which can be caused by diabetes and it’s symptoms in particular. As well as an unpleasant feeling, a dry mouth can also promote a breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth. It is important to minimize the chance of oral or dental infection, because this can increase your blood glucose levels as your body tries to fight the infection. Saliva plays an important part in the mouth by controlling levels of bacteria as well as neutralizing and washing away acid around teeth and gums.
Gum disease and diabetes
Gum disease is one of the lesser-known complications that can affect people with diabetes. Around 33% of all diabetics suffer from periodontitis during some stage of their disease.
When diabetes is poorly managed, it can lead to periodontal diseases in both children and adults. It has been recorded as affecting children as young as the age of 6. Periodontal diseases may be classified as those infections that affect the bone that holds the teeth in place as well as the gums.
When a body is suffering from diabetes, the structure of the blood vessels is altered. This may affect the efficiency of the blood flow and in turn may weaken the bone and the gums, leaving them more prone to infections. Furthermore, if diabetes is not strictly managed, there may be higher levels of glucose in the mouth fluids. This will encourage the growth of gum disease-causing bacteria.
Symptoms of gum disease
The symptoms of gum disease as a result of diabetes may manifest themselves individually or in groups. To obtain an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to consult a dental health expert. The symptoms of gum disease may include the following:
- Bleeding in mouth stimulated by brushing and/or flossing
- Swollen, red or tender gums
- Gums in recession
- Loose teeth
- The presence of pus between the teeth or gums
- Changed bit or jaw alignment
- Persistent bad breath