How can diabetes make oral health worse?

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Poorly controlled diabetics are at greater risk of oral complications. These include dry mouth, poor healing and decreased flow of saliva. Infections in the mouth are also more likely, such as gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) which can lead ultimately to the loss of teeth, thrush (a fungal infection) and lichen planus (a disorder of the skin and oral soft tissues).

These problems can be prevented or at least minimized with professional help. Although there is no cure for lichen planus, a dentist may treat it with topical anesthetics or prescription medications.

Many studies of the oral health of diabetics only look at one type or mix both types together. So it's difficult to say whether or not there are differences between the two. Type 1 diabetes usually starts in childhood and requires insulin. Type 2 diabetes usually starts in adulthood, and may or may not require insulin. What's most important is that with both types of diabetes the struggle is over blood glucose.

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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.