Diabetes is a serious medical condition that affects all aspects of health—and oral health is no exception. For example, dental implants have helped many patients who seek an alternative to uncomfortable, ill-fitting dentures, but diabetics may not always receive the full benefits of the switch. This is largely due to the fact that diabetics have unique circumstances in their mouths that increase their chances of developing oral infections.
Individuals with diabetes have been known to experience dental and mouth problems because of excess glucose (sugar) in their saliva. When food mixes with too-sugary saliva and bacteria, plaque forms more easily, which leads to “decay, cavities, bad breath, and gum disease or gingivitis.” In short, when glucose levels are increased in the mouth, the plaque levels also increase. The problems caused by high sugar levels can have lasting effects on the oral health of diabetics. If you are experiencing any of these problems as a diabetic, set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss the possible options that are best for you.
Certainly, diabetics’ “ability to fight infections is not as strong as others,” especially in the mouth, where there is such a great amount of bacteria. However, in a recent study of 200 patients getting dental implants, only two did not heal like the others. The group of 200 patients included diabetics, and while these diabetic patients did take a tad longer to properly heal, the implants worked. It is extremely important for diabetics to take excellent care of implants to ensure infections do not develop, and if they do, then there is no reason why diabetics can’t have implants as a replacement for dentures.
In discussing the options best for you, your teeth, and dental implants, you will be advised by your dentist to “keep your blood glucose numbers as close to your target as possible, eat healthy meals, and brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to fight against tooth decay.”