Millions of Americans have diabetes and are more prone to certain bothersome and concerning conditions as a result. Research indicates that individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases as well as severe dental illnesses, including periodontal disease. One of the most significant reasons for this is that those who have diabetes have difficulty fighting infections that contribute to poor oral health.

Oral Conditions Associated With Diabetes

Diabetic patients are more prone to periodontal disease, but they can also experience other uncomfortable illnesses. Dry mouth is common in individuals with diabetes and occurs when the salivary glands produce insufficient saliva. This condition can cause the tissues inside the mouth to become inflamed or make it difficult to eat. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop oral fungal infections, usually as a result of dry mouth, which must be treated with medication. Some patients also develop burning mouth syndrome, a condition that manifests itself in the form of pain and a burning sensation inside the mouth rather than visible lesions.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Practicing diligent at-home oral care is helpful in preventing gum and periodontal infections, but patients must also manage their diabetes with diet or medication according to their doctor’s instructions for good overall health. Some of the symptoms of oral diseases include the following:

  • Red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed while brushing or flossing
  • White discharge and tenderness in the gums
  • Gums that have receded and exposed the roots of the teeth
  • Thick and visible plaque residue that is prominent in between the teeth
  • Chronic halitosis or bad breath

What Your Dentist Can Do

You should always inform your dentist of any major medical conditions you have, including diabetes. During a comprehensive dental exam, your teeth and gums will be thoroughly evaluated for signs of complications or infection. Depending on your unique needs, your dental specialist may recommend a subsequent periodontal exam or an appropriate treatment designed to address your specific concerns.

Regularly visiting the dentist is crucial, especially if you have diabetes. To schedule a dental appointment or periodontal exam with Dr. Christine Chung, please call (551)222-4493.