Diabetes can take its toll on your whole body, including putting you at risk of dental and oral health problems such as diabetic ulcers in the mouth and gum disease.
Mouth ulcers are sores or lesions that typically appear on the soft tissue and inner parts of the mouth such as the cheek or the roof of the mouth. In most cases, they´re irritating, not a serious cause for concern and disappear within a few days.
It´s not always clear what causes mouth ulcers, but triggers include stress, eating certain foods, hormonal changes, a sharp tooth and ill-fitting dental appliances such as braces.
Some conditions caused by diabetes can also lead to ulcer formation. For example, dry mouth and low resistance to infection create conditions for oral thrush. This fungal infection causes white or red patches on the skin in the mouth that can result in diabetic ulcers.
In addition to diabetic ulcers, the most common oral health problems affecting people with diabetes are:
Tooth decay - higher blood sugar levels can lead to saliva with higher sugar content. This allows plaque to accumulate on the teeth leading to cavities.
Fungal infections such as thrush - oral thrush is caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast that occurs naturally in the mouth. Conditions caused by diabetes, such as high glucose in saliva and low saliva levels, can contribute to the development of oral thrush.
A dry, burning mouth - people with diabetes tend to have less saliva, which can leave them feeling parched or extra thirsty.
Periodontal (gum) disease - this condition is caused by an infection that destroys the bone surrounding and supporting teeth. People with lower than normal glucose levels tend to have a lower resistance to infection and a reduced healing capacity.
Changes in taste - high blood sugar can lead to a transient loss of taste. Diabetic neuropathy may also play a role by damaging nerves that perceive taste.
Slow healing - poor control of blood sugar can stop injuries like diabetic ulcers from healing quickly and properly.
Signs and Symptoms of Mouth Problems
A small reddish lesion that becomes more painful with time could be a mouth ulcer. Other signs and symptoms of mouth problems include:
However, the good news is you can take control of your oral health straight away.
If you are a person living with diabetes and wish to prevent diabetic ulcers in the mouth and other dental and oral health problems, it´s a good idea to stick to the following tips.
If you are concerned about diabetic ulcers in the mouth or how diabetes may affect your oral health, contact Dr Goke Akinwande and his team at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy. They're experts at treating diabetic wounds and can advise you on how best to manage your diabetes to maintain optimal oral and general health.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call MINT today or book an appointment online.