Type 2 diabetics can develop a host of oral health issues if steps are not taken to prevent them. Periodontal or gum disease is a common complication of type 2 diabetes, as high blood sugar levels raise the risk of developing this problem, and the problem in turn often raises blood sugar levels. Glucose is excreted into your saliva when your blood sugar level is high… this may contribute further to you having cavities. You can develop tooth decay from these high blood sugar levels, not because you eat too many sweet foods.
Fortunately, preventing periodontal disease can be fairly easy with good oral care.
Dry mouth is another common side effect of diabetes and can be supremely annoying, especially at night. It can also promote tooth decay, as the lack of saliva leaves your teeth unprotected from acids and bacteria, which would otherwise be diluted. A humidifier can help at night, as can cutting out caffeine, alcohol and tobacco in the hours leading up to bedtime. During the day you can sip water or sugarless drinks to keep your mouth from feeling dry.
Hard candy or chewing gum sweetened with xylitol can also decrease dry mouth. Xylitol is a type of carbohydrate that will not be broken down completely by your body, and thus has little to no effect on your blood sugar levels. Xylitol can also decrease plaque on your teeth, meaning better oral health and less risk of periodontal disease. Some studies show that Xylitol actually increases bone density and promotes collagen growth, leading to better jaw and teeth health.
Sugar-free chewing gum is also a good way to promote dental health without increasing blood sugar, and can increase saliva in your mouth as well. Chewing gums containing magnolia bark can also help eliminate bad breath provided the gum is chewed for at least five minutes. Diabetics often have a sharp smell to their breath that is difficult to mask.
Sugar free candy containing licorice root can kill bacteria that causes tooth decay without adversely affecting blood sugar levels. So can certain beverages, such as oolong tea or cranberry juice; reducing acid as well as making it harder for unattached bacteria to stick to plaque already present in your mouth. Cranberry juice should be drunk in very small servings as the natural sugar can cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Its also wise for type 2 diabetes to see their dentist regularly… also ask for advice about your dental hygiene so you can minimize any risk of damage. Don’t forget to tell your dentist you have type 2 diabetes.