Diabetes is one of the most prevalent lifestyle diseases in the world with more than 46 crore adults suffering from it. A significant amount of India’s population suffers from diabetes, with the second-highest prevalence rate of the disease after China. According to IDF (International Diabetes Federation), the number of diabetes patients in India in 2019 was 7.7 crore. This implies that every sixth diabetic patient in the world lives in India.
A recent survey conducted in 2021 found that people who live in cities and metropolitan areas in India are more likely to develop diabetes than ever before. It is widely known that diabetes affects major organs of the body such as the heart, kidneys, eyes, feet etc. However, what is often ignored is the fact that this metabolic disease can also affect even one’s oral health significantly.
How Diabetes Affects Oral Health?
If one has diabetes, one is more prone to oral health problems like cavities, infection of the gums and bones that hold the teeth since diabetes can reduce blood supply in the mouth. The higher the sugar one has, the more prone one is to these problems. Furthermore, when one is suffering from diabetes and is over fifty, the person is more likely to suffer from these complications than younger people with diabetes.
Regardless of whether one person has diabetes or not, major early symptoms of dental diseases are:
- Bleeding or sore gums
- Frequent oral infections
- Bad breath
However, if one is diabetic, they should be more watchful about these and seek treatment immediately as these can worsen faster in people with diabetes, and recovery is usually longer for them.
Major Oral Conditions That Can Affect People With Diabetes More
Tooth Decay (Cavities)
Signs of cavities are hot and cold sensitivity, lingering sensitivity to sweets & sugary drinks, toothache, tooth stains and holes in the tooth.
Early Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
Early Gum Disease is the most common oral disease among people with diabetes. This is caused by bacteria, and symptoms include sore and red or bleeding gums. Diabetes reduces one’s ability to fight bacteria, making a person more prone to gingivitis.
FAdvanced Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
When left untreated, early gum disease can lead to advanced gum disease called periodontitis. This is a more serious gum disease, which destroys the soft tissues and bones supporting the teeth. If not addressed in time, this can lead to loosening and possibly falling out of teeth in the worst-case scenario.
This is a type of fungal infection caused by yeast. People with diabetes are more prone to this. Its symptoms include painful white or red patches in the mouth.
Diabetes slows down saliva production in the mouth, leading to a risk of dry mouth. Saliva produces enzymes that destroy bacteria. With the reduction in saliva, these bacteria go unchecked, leading to sores, ulcers, tooth decay and gum diseases.
Though people with diabetes are more prone to oral diseases, the following are some simple measures to help prevent complications: