Poor oral health also makes diabetes harder to control. More than one in five diabetics will develop a form of gum disease, which can take a toll on overall health if untreated and even become life-threatening if the bacteria reach the bloodstream.
Symptoms of gum disease to watch for include swollen, red gums, chronic bad breath, gum recession, loosening teeth, and gums prone to bleeding. Diabetes makes these more likely as well as other problems like slower healing, dry mouth, enlarged salivary glands, fungal infections, burning mouth syndrome, and worse and more frequent infections.
Gum disease can also be a challenge for orthodontic treatment, no matter what’s causing it. Parents of type 1 diabetic kids should be extra careful about controlling their diabetes and promoting good oral health habits. If they eventually need braces, they will then be in a good position to be able to go forward with orthodontic treatment.
Diabetes makes it harder to maintain oral health, but not impossible. Good oral hygiene habits are essential, including daily flossing and twice-daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Regular dental checkups and cutting out excess sugar are also key!