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How Diabetes Impacts Oral Health

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Diabetes can affect the oral health of all ages

Diabetes can affect the oral health of all ages

The number of Americans suffering from diabetes tops 25 million. Because diabetes impacts whole-body health, the mouth is affected, as well. If blood sugar levels aren’t controlled, diabetes sufferers can face a whole host of oral health issues. If you have diabetes, it’s important to take care of your smile. Dr. Oldham in Smithfield NC can help.

Oral Health Risks

If you have diabetes, you may experience a higher risk of certain oral-related problems. This is due, in part, to the fact that uncontrolled diabetes inhibits the function of infection-fighting white blood cells. Additionally, the blood vessels of a person with diabetes thicken. Thickened vessels don’t transport nutrients to tissues or remove waste as quickly as normal vessels. These factors combine to impede the body’s ability to fight infection.

People with diabetes have an increased risk of experiencing:

Gum Disease: This infection of the gums and tissues that hold teeth in place is caused by bacteria. If the body’s infection-fighting mechanisms are diminished, gum disease can take hold and progress.

Dry Mouth: A person with uncontrolled diabetes may experience a decrease of saliva flow. This can result in dry mouth and contribute to mouth ulcers, dental decay, and discomfort.

Thrush: This fungal infection can occur as a result of antibiotic use to combat infection. Thrush can cause a burning sensation in the mouth or tongue.

Delayed Healing: Because thickened blood vessels impede blood flow, people with uncontrolled diabetes often don’t heal as quickly following dental procedures, including oral surgery.

What You Can Do

Dr. Oldham will work with you to maintain good oral health. It’s important to keep him informed of your status regarding diabetes, any issues you’re having, and what medications you’re taking. We encourage you to visit our office for regular checkups and cleanings. Dr. Oldham will help you determine the proper schedule for your unique needs. In addition, work to maintain good blood sugar levels to minimize your risk of developing oral-related issues.

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