Dental care for people with diabetes

Senior MedicalDiabetes is a disease that is still incurable but that can be controlled by taking many precautions. If you have diabetes, you must look out for what you eat, exercise regularly, take your medication diligently, and also pay special attention to your oral health.

Among the oral problems that diabetes can trigger, dry mouth (xerostomia) and infections are the main ones. Xerostomia, or lack of saliva in the mouth, can have serious consequences, including tooth decay (cavities), the appearance of ulcers and fungal infections, and the difficulty of wearing dentures and partials.

Oral infections that diabetics encounter are the cause of periodontal disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects the gums and the bone that support teeth. Gum disease is more difficult to cure when you have diabetes. It is therefore important to maintain your gums healthy and have them checked regularly.

Furthermore, if you are diabetic and undergo oral surgery, healing will be more slow than usual. So whether you have a tooth extraction, wisdom teeth removal, or gum surgery, you must expect longer healing time.

Dentists recommend people with diabetes to have meticulous oral hygiene, by brushing and flossing preferably after every meal. It is also cautious to see your dentist for regular checkups, every three months if possible, for a tooth and gum exam, and a tartar scaling. At each visit, your medical history must be updated by informing any change of your diabetes state and the medication that you are taking.

If you feel that your gums are bleeding more than usual, it would be important to consult your dentist immediately. Gum disease is the worst oral complication that you can get when you have diabetes and it must be controlled. You must also notify your physician of the state of your oral health.

A lot of attention is needed to keep your mouth healthy. But if you act with the recommendations of your physician and your dentist, you can lead a healthy life for a very long time.

Full Article: Diabetes and Dental Care

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34 thoughts on “Dental care for people with diabetes

  1. Hello Doc!!!

    My mother has diabetic and her sugar level is 300+ she has a tooth infection and doc suggested for tooth extraction.he said sugar level might not come down because of the infection and asked her to go for extraction by keeping her on insulin for three days..Is it safe for diabetic patient to go for tooth extraction?

  2. Hi, my mom is type-2 diabetic. Her tooth is shrinking and really movable already but was not cleared for tooth extraction since she had blood sugar of 250. Her physician ordered levemir 12-units, glimeperide once a day, janument once a day. Now her blood sugar ranges from 130-150 still. Her physician wont clear her until decreases to 100. The problem now is, her tooth just fell off her gums. There was no bleeding. She says it doesn’t hurt either. I’m worried. What do you suggest doc?

    • Hi Chloe, I think your mother had very advanced gum disease, that’s why her tooth fell out and there was no much pain afterwards. I suggest to see a dentist after your mom’s health is more stable.

  3. I am a diabetic and need all the rest of my teeth removed. My teeth seemed to get decayed faster after I became a diabetic. I need help paying for some of this I think all theses bad teeth are making me sick.

    • Kat, unfortunately diabetes can lead to gum disease faster. Also the condition and the medication taken make the mouth drier, therefore it’s easier to get tooth decay. I hope you do find the means to get all the proper treatment done to you soon.

  4. i am a type 2 diabetic. in the last year the majority of my teeth have chipped or broken off at the gum line. i would need to get them all removed at once and get immediate dentures. is this possible. i am also blind and have injections in my eyes every month so need to do the dental work all at once

    • Marily, doing dental work all at once might be a good idea for you as you would go through the healing process only once. But I strongly advise that you do the treatment in a hospital clinic as you would be better supervised.

  5. Hello Doc, my mom is diabetic and also has hypertension. She takes daily meds for this and she takes metformin? twice daily. She also has advanced periodontal disease. She needs to have 19 extractions for complete upper and lower dentures. Do you think its safe to extract all at once? She can only take off about 3 to 4 weeks off from work.. Some of these teeth are already loose and self-extracting.. I work at a dental office and O.S. said hewould do it.. I’d really like a second opinion.

    • Hello Alexia. If the extractions are not complicated to do, then it’s ok to have 19 teeth extracted at once. Considering that your mother is diabetic and healing takes longer, it might be a good idea to have them all extracted at once, that way recovery is not double the time and she can go back to work more quickly.
      If your mom has severe periodontal disease, her teeth might be moving, and extractions should be easier to do by her dentist.

  6. I am type 2 diabetes.I had my left lower canine tooth removed. I have been prescribed with Amoxillin besides apain killers.The pain in the gum gets wave form , worst at evenings if not controlled with Diclofenac sodium.. I observe a tiny white spot over elevated gum of the tooth pit which is sensitive.Is that spot is the place where the dentist inserted the needle for anesthesia or a pus formation? Can I ignore it if it subsides gradually?.

  7. My dad is having a terrible toothache and it need to be extracted. But then the dentist don’t want to do the tooth extraction because dad is diabetic. What steps should we take so that he can have the extraction? Pls help…

  8. My mum is a diabetic patient and she has a hole in her inner teeth which has been there for long. Most times when she goes to the hospital, the dentist refills the hole and after sometime, the refill will go off. She usually complains of that teeth smelling and having bad odour atimes. A few days ago, she had a boil by the gum close to that teeth giving her problems. When she got to the hospital, the dentist told her the teeth will be taken off and he checked her sugar level and said that its on the high side that she should come back in few days time. She’s going to take the teeth off next week and am really worried and disturbed about this. Pls what can you suggest to help her? Thanks

    • Jane, maybe the cavity on that tooth is too advanced that’s why the dentist suggested to extract it. I don’t understand however, did the dentist suggest to extract only that tooth or all teeth? It is true that if her sugar level is too high no surgery can be done. If you are not sure about the treatment plan I suggest to seek a second opinion from another dentist.

      • Thanks for your response. Its only one tooth that he wants to extract and he said she has other holes which he is going to fill up. Pls can u advise me further on things dat she can do to make it heal faster after the extraction and also things that the dentist is supposed to do to make that their won’t be complications.

        • For diabetic patients, we recommend appointments that are taken earlier (preferably before lunch). Also short appointments, meaning one or two teeth each time, not to do 10 fillings at once.
          Unfortunately, it takes twice the time to heal after extraction and following your dentists recommendations will be very important (no smoking, rinsing with salted water starting 24 hours after the extraction, etc.)

  9. My husband had 2 wisdom teeth extracted, and ended up in ICU for one week due to a major abscess, We almost lost him. This is no joke. All dentists have to properly inform their diabetic patients the risks involved. He did not give him any antibiotics until 3 days after the extraction. By then his throat was all closed up and he could not swallow!! He was at risk for a tracheotomy and drainage outside his neck, he was lucky!!!! He is slowly healing but this has been a night mare for him and for his family.

  10. When a diabetic patient is on insulin medication come to your clinic for extraction.what would u advice your patient before coming ?

    • I would check the state of the gums, plaque and tartar, and recommend a cleaning first if needed. Then I would book a morning appointment for the extraction. The sugar level in the blood should be checked by the patient right before extraction.

  11. hi i am a type 1 diabetic i had a lower molar extracted 2 weeks ago. it became infected and so i went on antinbiotics and anti inflammatories which seemed to be helping but now, the tooth that remains (behind the extraction site) has the surrounding gums seperating from it. I can feel jagged bone on one side and can see the tooth right down into the roots. it is christmas day and no dentist is availible until next week. Is there anything i can do? thankyou!

  12. I was wondering when someone was going to cover diabetes and gum health. My fiance is having tooth issues and she said it’s “no big thing”, the next day I found your post! Tell me that’s not coincidence ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Although you mentioned it is harder for diabetics to cure, what can be done to do so or what foods have you read up on would be a good preventitive idea? I always heard an apple a day keeps the doctor (and dentist) away. Any insight?

    • Yes an apple a day keeps the dentist (or dental problems) away!

      If your fiance has diabetes, she needs to have very good oral hygiene at home in order to prevent gum disease. These oral hygiene measures consist of brushing and mostly flossing daily. Also she should get regular professional cleanings at a dental office every six months. If she has a tendency to make a lot of tartar, more frequent cleanings are recommended.

      Hope that answers your question ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I am a type 2 diabetic on insulin, my dentist wants to remove 17 teeth at once and place full dentures in my mouth. Should I be concerned about so many teeth at once???

  14. This is an excellent article.

    With diabetes on the rise, it is important to learn there are many “side effects” one must be aware of.

    Oral health plays a major role in overall physical health, and when diabetes is in the mix, it is wise to ask lots of questions of your DENTIST as well as your doctor, and keep both well informed.

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