People with diabetes face a higher risk of:
When the sugars and starches you eat and drink mix with bacteria in your mouth, plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. When your blood sugar level is higher than normal, you’re adding more sugar to create more acid.
Gingivitis (early gum disease)
Diabetes causes blood vessel changes, which can reduce the flow of nutrients and removal of wastes from your gums. This can increase your risk of infection and weaken the gums and bone. If plaque hardens under your gum line and turns into tartar, your gums will swell and bleed over time. This is the early stage of gingivitis, but if caught early on, your dentist can perform deep cleanings to help with your gum health.
Periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into periodontitis, which can destroy the supporting bone and cause tooth loss. This advanced gum disease can be more severe for diabetics because diabetes lowers your ability to fight infection and slows healing. Periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which could make managing diabetes more difficult.
Diabetes can cause dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. This is when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t make enough saliva, which can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and thrush. Certain medications can cause dry mouth as well.
A type of yeast infection, thrush often occurs in people with diabetes or weak immune systems. It appears as white patches or a white coating on your tongue or in your mouth. Thrush can cause a loss of taste, mouth soreness or a burning sensation.