Dental Procedure Pain: Get the Facts

Oral Health Symptoms That Can Indicate Diabetes

Diabetes is a health condition where the pancreas is no longer able to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar. Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes can present with a host of symptoms as it's a systemic illness. Oral health symptoms are often overlooked, but can prove to be a major warning sign that you have diabetes.

Here are a few of the oral health symptoms that could indicate you have diabetes. Visit both your dentist and general practitioner if any of these conditions appear. 

Recurrent Infections

Do you experience frequent periodontal infections despite always brushing and flossing properly? Are your gums always red or swollen or leaking a pus-like discharge? These can all be symptoms of diabetes as the body's blood sugar imbalance lessens the ability to both heal and fight off bacterial attackers.

You should visit a periodontist as soon as a gum infection seems likely. If the gum infections keep returning despite treatment and proper aftercare, and you seem generally unwell, visit your general doctor for blood work. An accurate diabetes diagnosis and insulin will help clear up your dental symptoms before the infections begin to cause substantial damage.  

Dental or Gum Recession

If the dental infections are allowed to continue over a long period of time, both your teeth and gums can suffer. The infection can weaken the supporting structures for the teeth, which can cause the teeth to then shift further apart. This shifting can cause new bite issues that make it more difficult for you to chew or hold your mouth closed.

Infections can also cause gum recession, which occurs when infected soft tissue pulls back from the bottom of the teeth. Gum recession makes your teeth look overly large and can start to expose the sensitive tooth root. The only way to counteract gum recession is a gum graft, which uses soft tissue from the roof of your mouth to repair the gums. But a gum graft won't heal properly unless you have your diabetes properly diagnosed and managed.

Frequent Cavities

Frequent cavities are another potential side effect of the untreated diabetes causing recurrent infections and/or lingering bacteria. The bacteria will eventually eat through the enamel of the teeth and into the dentin, which causes cavities.

There are a wide variety of cavity treatment options that include fillings and dental crowns. But cavities will simply keep occurring, and the underlying support structures weakening, until you have your diabetes treated.

Dental health issues obviously aren't the primary concern when seeking a diabetes diagnosis. But don't underestimate the amount of oral damage the disease can cause if it isn't diagnosed and treated.

To learn more, contact a dentist like Jeremy Archibald DDS PC.