by Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative Team

Did you know that April is Oral health month? Did you also know that people living with diabetes need to pay special attention to their oral health as they are at an increased risk of oral health complications?

People with diabetes are at higher risk of complications associated with their mouth, teeth and gums. Diabetes and oral health can feed each other in a vicious cycle. Diabetes can make a person more prone to infections including gum disease which in turn having oral infections makes it difficult to control blood sugars which prolongs and can worsen the infection.

Bacteria grow and thrive in the presence of high blood sugars caused by diabetes, the mouth is the perfect environment for this to occur. The mouth contains many types of bacteria, the white substance that forms on the teeth and gum line is known as plaque bacteria. When sugars interact with these bacteria they form acids which attack the teeth causing cavities. Diabetes affects your ability to fight infection and slows healing; gum disease is an infection that can cause destruction of the tissues that support the teeth and sometimes ending with a loss of teeth. Having an infection like gum disease can cause a person’s blood sugar to rise and make it hard to control. Fungal infections can also occur in the mouth and can be treated with medications, special mouthwashes and by controlling blood sugars. Another complication for people with diabetes is dry mouth; high blood sugars can decrease s ...

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