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Tens of millions of people in this country have diabetes, a serious disease that affects how one’s body processes glucose in the blood. Its effects are seen all over the body, from a person’s vision and weight to nerve function. Did you know that diabetes can also complicate matters in the mouth?

Diabetes is often manifested in the mouth through reduced saliva production. While this may seem more a minor inconvenience, dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, like cavities. Bacteria in the mouth tend to flourish better in a dryer environment. Saliva also helps to clean the mouth, and so having less of it means that food particles can remain in the mouth for longer. Drinking plenty of water or chewing sugarfree gum can help combat dry mouth.

Another way diabetes complicates oral health is in patients with gum disease. While diabetes may not contribute directly to the development of gum disease, it can certainly pose an additional challenge to the healing process. People with diabetes tend to heal from infections slower, which in this case would let the disease spread deeper into the mouth tissues and jaw. One of the most serious effects of gum disease is tooth loss, and 1 in every 5 instances of tooth loss in this country can be linked to diabetes.

If you have diabetes, we don’t want to add to your list of things to worry about. But you should know that diabetes can pose additional challenges to oral health if problems develop. The best thing to do is to maintain great oral hygiene and keep up on regular visits with Dr. R. Nab. Please call Midtown Dental in Houston, TX, to schedule an appointment.