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Does diabetes change my oral health and risk for infections?

Diabetes can affect your oral health in many ways. Diabetes increases the risk of infections in the mouth. The condition can cause changes in the tissues and gums (gingiva). If you have poor control over your blood sugar levels, you are at higher risk of gum disease. Diabetes increases the risk of thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth. You may notice that your mouth is extremely dry (called xerostomia), which can set the stage for developing cavities or tooth decay. Diabetes makes many demands on you. You must check your blood glucose levels regularly, follow a balanced diet, and exercise daily. By taking care of your mouth and teeth daily with good oral hygiene is something you can do to prevent gum infections and tooth decay.

Yes, diabetes does change your oral health and as a rule increases your risk for both oral and systemic diseases. Oral infections are caused by bacteria and fungi (yeasts); all of which thrive in the presence of high sugar levels. In addition, diabetes changes the small vessels that supply the oral tissues and often produces dry mouth. Without these body defenses, the diabetic is much more at risk for infection.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.