Ask a Dentist

Q: Does diabetes affect my dental health?

Graphic of an electric diabetes test and strip

A: High blood glucose or blood sugar puts you at risk for mouth infections, tooth decay and cavities. This is because your saliva contains blood sugar. Saliva helps clean your teeth between meals and prevent tooth decay. High levels of sugar in the saliva invites bacterial growth. Low levels of sugar in the saliva means less saliva production, less tooth cleaning between eating, and increased risk of dental plaque.

Other symptoms of abnormal blood glucose levels in your saliva may include burning or bitter taste in the mouth, oral thrush (white sores on your inner cheeks, the roof of the mouth or tongue) and bleeding or swollen gums (signs of gum disease).

As long as you practice proper brushing, flossing, and mouth washing, you should avoid dental problems. Regular visits to the dentist will also lower the risk of developing dental issues. Follow the instructions your doctor gives you. Manage your diabetes with medication, high-fibre meals and regular exercise.

Diabetes is not uncommon, and dental problems caused by diabetes are typically treatable when caught early. Give us a call if you can’t remember your last dental checkup. Book an appointment at either of Winnipeg clinics and let us know if you have diabetes, so we can assist you better.