Dental/Gum Disease

If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is not under control, it can cause problems with your gums. Diabetes causes blood vessel changes that can affect the blood flow to your gums and bone and weaken them. Your gums and the bones that hold your teeth together can get infected.

In addition, if your blood sugar is not under control, this can cause bacteria to grow in your mouth, resulting in gum disease. If your blood sugar is high, your immune system cannot fight off infection very well. Also, if you have gum disease, it can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar under control.

Smoking can be another contributing factor to gum disease. While people without diabetes can also have gum issues because of smoking, the risk is much higher in people with diabetes.

Signs and symptoms

Each person may have different symptoms of gum disease, however, below are some common warning signs:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing and/or flossing your teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • A change in bite and jaw alignment

If you have any of these symptoms, talk with a dentist for a diagnosis.

Types of gum disease

  • Gingivitis – this is the mildest form of gum disease resulting in red, swollen and tender gums. It can make your gums bleed easily when you brush and floss your teeth.
  • Mild periodontitis – if you have gingivitis and do not treat it, it can lead to mild periodontitis, which causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and early loss of bone around the teeth. It’s important to see a dentist or an oral health specialist to prevent further problems.
  • Moderate to advanced periodontitis – this is the most advanced stage of gum disease, resulting in significant bone loss. It can cause receding gums around teeth and deeper pockets around teeth where the gums have pulled away. It may result in your teeth loosening and needing to be pulled.

Other oral problems

  • Thrush – this is a fungal infection of the mouth, which happens more often in people with diabetes because of the high blood sugar levels.
  • Dry mouth – this can happen when there is not enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. It can make it more difficult to taste, chew and swallow your food and can even get in the way of talking. In addition, it can cause mouth infections and tooth decay. Symptoms include sticky, dry mouth, dry lips, sense of burning in the mouth, rough tongue, and mouth sores or infection.

If you have any problems with your mouth, talk to your doctor or a dentist to get a treatment plan. To prevent issues with your mouth and gums, keep your blood sugar levels under control.