How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?
How Does Diabetes Affect Oral Health?

Diabetes and Oral Health: Does Being Diabetic Affect Your Teeth?

Over 37 million Americans have diabetes. Unfortunately, one in every five people in this group doesn’t know they have it. This is an alarming fact because diabetes can cause severe health issues, and these issues can affect different parts of the body.

Does being a diabetic affect your teeth? There’s a correlation between diabetes and oral health. 

Diabetics are more prone to cavities and gum disease. They can also develop many other issues with their gums and teeth. Some of these can even make their diabetes worse. 

This article provides some facts about Type 1 diabetes and oral health. You might also be wondering, Does Type 2 diabetes affect your teeth? Read on to find out.

Diabetes and Your Teeth

Diabetes occurs when blood glucose (sugar) levels are high. There are three main types of diabetes. They are gestational, Type 1, and Type 2.

Gestational diabetes only occurs during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears after a mother gives birth.

The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 is that Type 1 is genetic and usually identified at an early age. It occurs because the pancreas makes little or no insulin.

Type 2 usually develops over time due to lifestyle choices. Both can affect your oral health. 

Effects of Diabetes on Oral Health

How does diabetes impact oral health? Ironically, your diabetic medications might be the reason for your dental problems. 

Dry Mouth

Some of the medications used to treat diabetes can lessen the flow of saliva. This can increase your chances of developing gum disease and cavities. It can also lead to other oral health problems.


Despite fighting infections, antibiotics increase the likelihood of a diabetic developing thrush. This is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth, mainly the tongue.

The fungus flourishes when glucose levels in saliva are high. So it can be even worse in cases of uncontrolled diabetes.  

Diabetes and Gum Disease

Another effect of diabetes is periodontitis or gum disease. Diabetes can thicken blood vessels. This slows down the flow of nutrients to different parts of the body.

Conversely, waste coming out of the body’s tissues doesn’t occur quickly either. This makes it harder for your body to fight infections, including ones that occur in the mouth. This increases the chances of a diabetic getting gum disease and gingivitis.

Slow Healing

A tooth extraction might become necessary depending on the severity of your gum disease. Although it should help, diabetics take longer to heal after oral surgery due to slower blood flow. Slow healing can lead to additional complications.

Navigating Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes and dental problems might seem inevitable. But this doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. The key lies in early diagnosis and treatment. 

The combination of the two can help you manage your blood sugar levels. An experienced dentist can also recommend preventative dental treatments. These can safeguard you against complications associated with diabetes and oral health.

Dr. Paul Feldman has this experience. He and his team at Suburban Essex Dental have a range of preventative dentistry services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment! Our dental office is located in West Orange, New Jersey. But do not hesitate if it is not around the corner. Many of our patients travel from out of town to receive our dental care as we have been rated a Top NJ Dentist for over 10 years.