How Diabetes Can Negatively Impact Your Oral Health

How Diabetes Can Negatively Impact Your Oral Health

At our office in Eugene, dentist Dr. Rita Feldmanis wants her patients to better understand the connection that exists between diabetes and gum disease.

Diabetes ranks as one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 10 percent of the population, both children and adults, have diabetes. When looking at only adults, the CDC estimates that 13 percent of the U.S. population has the disease.

Most people understand that diabetes can affect organs such as the heart, eyes, feet, and kidneys. However, many of the patients who visit our dental office in Eugene don’t fully understand how diabetes can also impact their oral health.

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Patients with diabetes have a higher risk for developing oral health problems like tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Diabetics who have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels also have a higher chance for developing gingivitis and periodontitis.

Patients with gingivitis may develop gums that appear red, swollen, and tender to the touch. Gingivitis can also cause gums to bleed after brushing or flossing.

If untreated, gingivitis can progress into the far more serious periodontitis, an advanced form of the disease that can lead to permanent tooth loss. Patients with untreated periodontitis can also experience discomfort, persistent bad breath, problems chewing, and teeth that shift or move position. Diabetes can also reduce a patient’s ability to heal, so it can interfere with any gum disease treatment patients receive at our dental office in Eugene.

Other problems caused by diabetes include dry mouth and thrush, a fungal infection that causes painful white patches to develop in the mouth. Dry mouth occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough saliva. Saliva plays a vital role in helping to remove harmful bacteria and food particles from the mouth. When a patient’s mouth fails to produce an adequate amount of saliva, they can experience the development of ulcers, soreness, tooth decay, and more frequent oral infections.


The type of treatment you’ll receive from Dr. Feldmanis depends on the type of oral health problems you have. Patients with gingivitis or periodontitis will need to receive care to treat their gum disease. Treatment for gum disease ranges from a deep cleaning to root scaling and planing.

Patients who experience persistent dry mouth may need to take medication or use a saliva substitute to keep their oral cavity sufficiently moist. To treat thrush, Dr. Feldmanis may also prescribe medication to kill the fungus that causes thrush. Patients may also need to use a special solution to keep their dentures clean, when applicable.

Useful Tips

Controlling blood sugar levels is the key for diabetic patients to prevent any oral health problems from developing. Patients with poor blood sugar control develop gum disease more frequently when compared to patients who manage to properly monitored and controlled their diabetes.

If you have diabetes, make sure you:

  • Maintain control of your blood sugar levels.
  • Brush at least twice a day and floss daily.
  • Visit Dr. Feldmanis for regular checkup and cleanings. Depending on the current state of your oral health, you may need to visit our dental office in Eugene more than twice a year.
  • Tell Dr. Feldmanis if your dentures don’t fit properly, or if your gums are sore.
  • Report any oral health problems like dry mouth to Dr. Feldmanis.

Diabetes can sabotage your long-term oral health if not properly controlled. Don’t let diabetes ruin the health of your smile. Contact our team today to schedule your next exam with Dr. Rita Feldmanis, and have the confidence in knowing your smile will continue to look its best for years to come.

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