More than 4.5 million people living in France have diabetes. Type I and type II diabetes affect your body's ability to process sugar, which in turn leads to high blood sugar levels.
When left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems throughout the body, including the mouth.
The good news is that controlling your diabetes can help protect your teeth and gums.
Here's a look at some of the oral conditions that diabetes can cause or worsen.
Increased risk of gingivitis
Gum disease is the most common oral health problem associated with diabetes.
Because diabetes can cause an increase in the sugar in your saliva, it can also cause acid-producing bacteria to multiply in your mouth.
Over time, bacteria and leftover food particles can form plaque, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease.
Regular brushing and flossing play an important role in reversing gingivitis.
Development of periodontitis
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which erodes the bones and tissues that support your teeth. Today, periodontal disease affects nearly 22% of people with diabetes.
Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss. Because periodontitis is permanent, it is important to practice diligent oral hygiene and see your dentist to manage your oral health condition.
Diabetes can slow down the production of saliva, which contains enzymes that are essential for limiting bacterial growth. Over time, dry mouth can make tooth decay and gum disease worse.
To treat dry mouth, drink plenty of water and limit your caffeine intake. You may also want to talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking that have a side effect on dry mouth.
A fungal yeast infection called oral thrush is more common in people with diabetes.
Because fungi feed on sugar, high blood sugar can lead to fungal infections in the mouth.
Although oral thrush does not usually cause serious health problems, it can be unpleasant.
Most often, oral thrush appears as white or red patches on your tongue and inside your cheeks.
Burning mouth syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome is a term that describes a chronic or recurring burning sensation in the mouth.
This sensation may also be accompanied by tingling or numbness. Burning mouth syndrome has been associated with diabetes and poor blood sugar control, as well as oral thrush and dry mouth.
How to prevent diabetes-related oral problems
To avoid damage to your teeth and gums, take an active role in managing your Type I or Type II diabetes.
The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of developing these oral complications.
In addition, commit to maintaining a good oral hygiene routine by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and scheduling regular visits to the dentist.
By actively managing your diabetes and dental care, you will be rewarded with healthy teeth and gums.