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Diabetes is a disease that can have serious complications if it isn’t managed properly. People with diabetes can develop problems with their eyes, kidneys, and heart as a result of their condition. But they aren’t the only ones at risk; research has shown that people living with diabetes also have an increased risk of oral health issues too.

That’s because diabetics are more likely to have infections of the gums and infections of the major organs—including the heart. In fact, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease or experience a stroke than someone without the disease. This makes good oral hygiene even more important for these patients.

Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by oral bacteria. This infection can lead to tooth loss and possibly spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Research has found that people who are living with diabetes may be more susceptible to developing periodontal disease due to high blood sugar, which weakens the immune system and allows the bacteria to flourish.

Ways Diabetes Affect Oral Health

Diabetics are highly susceptible to oral health problems, ranging from gum disease to dry mouth. In fact, diabetics are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease as non-diabetics. This is because diabetics have an increased risk of contracting infections in general. When the gums become infected, they tend to swell up and become redder than usual. This increase in inflammation can result in severe discomfort and even tooth loss in severe cases.

In addition to the increased risk for infection, diabetics are typically affected by xerostomia or dry mouth. This condition is caused by nerve damage that makes it difficult for patients to produce saliva. Without enough saliva to neutralize acids, patients experience excessive enamel erosion, which can lead to decay, sensitivity, discoloration, and cracked or damaged teeth.

The best way to prevent these issues is to brush and floss regularly, along with visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can recommend the best at-home care routine for your needs, as well as treatment options for any oral issues you may be experiencing. This way, you can avoid having to undergo extensive restorative procedures to treat your oral complications.

If you want to learn more, visit the Covington Signature Dentistry office at 27121 174th Place SE, Suite 202, Covington, WA 98042, or call (253) 638-9955 to schedule an appointment.

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