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    People with diabetes have characteristics that can show in the condition of the mouth. The relationship between diabetes and oral health is very close.

    Thus, knowing what diabetes is, what its main types are and the most common oral problems it can cause is essential to take proper care. Diabetes requires that people take care of themselves, which, in turn, is a direct result of their knowledge of their health.

    Read on and learn about the relationship between diabetes and oral health.

    stethoscope with mock eyes, brain, lungs, heart, kidney and liver on blue background

    What is diabetes?

    The process of digestion after a meal, especially when it includes carbohydrates, provides the supply of glucose to the blood. This, in turn, carries this simple sugar to the cells of the various tissues of the body, where it acts as a source of energy.

    So, in general, all work done by the body, from lifting a leg to solving a mathematical equation makes use of glucose as a source of energy. A hormone called insulin facilitates the passage of glucose molecules from the blood into the cells.

    If insulin cannot process this transfer of glucose into the cell or if the body does not produce enough insulin for this activity, glucose starts to accumulate in the blood. This accumulation of blood glucose is called hyperglycemia.

    Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the body cannot mobilize glucose and permanently lives with the possibility of hyperglycemia if it does not take certain measures. Thus, diabetes control constitutes the set of initiatives that the person with this condition must adopt as a routine in their life.


    Hyperglycemia is a dangerous condition, The lack of care can cause serious damage to the arteries, heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.

    What are the main types of diabetes?

    Diabetes mellitus can present in two main forms: type 1 and type 2. Each one has its own characteristics, such as causes and main symptoms. There is also gestational diabetes , temporary, which can manifest during pregnancy and regress later.

    Type 1 diabetes

    The origin of type 1 diabetes is the fact that the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas suffer from autoimmune attacks (from the body itself). As a result, the body does not produce the hormone needed to transfer glucose into cells.

    About 5% to 10% of people with diabetes are in this condition. Type 1 diabetes is known as “insulin-dependent diabetes” and is more common in children, adolescents and young adults.

    People with type 1 diabetes need to receive insulin daily in order to supply what the body does not produce. There are serious health risks to the person if there is carelessness in this application.

    Type 2 diabetes

    Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to meet its needs. It can also result from not using the insulin produced, that is, resistance to the action of the hormone is observed.

    About 90% of cases of diabetes are type 2. Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes) is more common in obese people over 40 years of age. Due to bad eating habits, this type of diabetes is in young people and children.

    This type 2 condition can remain for years without being noticed by the person, even with good nutrition and physical activity . Thus, without diagnosis and without treatment, it can lead to complications of the heart and brain.

    Person do glucose test. Measuring sugar in blood concept. Vector illustration


    Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels (the concentration of glucose in the blood) are higher than normal. This do not yet characterize diabetes. It usually manifests in obese, hypertensive people or with altered lipid levels.


    This is an alert from the body that should not be ignored. At this stage, the situation can be reversed, preventing the onset of diabetes.

    What are the main oral problems of people with diabetes?

    Oral health is an especially sensitive component for the person with diabetes. Impaired blood circulation in the environment of the tissues of the mouth, as well as the reduction in the production of saliva (“dry mouth”) favor the emergence of oral problems that can be more serious. Discover the main ones below.


    Because blood circulation is affected by diabetes, small bleeding gums can occur more easily when brushing. In turn, the increased availability of glucose in the blood facilitates the growth of bacteria. In addition, hygiene itself is hampered by the fear of injuring the gums.

    The appearance of a greater intensity in the color of the gum, changing from pink to red, is the first sign of inflammation in this area. An evolution in this situation can easily occur because the person with diabetes has a more weakened immune system and has less resistance to infections.

    Periodontal disease

    The evolution of gingivitis takes the form of periodontitis, with the installation of an infectious process between the tooth and the gum. The site becomes swollen and painful, which makes cleaning even more difficult, and may worsen the condition.

    In periodontitis there may be the formation of pus and deepening of the infection, reaching the jaw bone. Treatment may require the use of antibiotics, as there are serious risks of tooth loss.

    Bad breath

    The presence of pus, in the case of periodontal disease, is the cause of strong halitosis (bad breath). However, in the diabetic condition other factors are also responsible for the occurrence of halitosis.



    Difficulty in healing

    A set of common situations of the condition leads the body of the person with diabetes to present greater difficulty for the healing of injured tissues. For this reason, small wounds to the gingiva or bites of the oral mucosa should be well cared for and observed.

    Dental treatments themselves may take longer to complete. This makes the person with diabetes to keep an always closer follow-up with their dentist. This is because, susceptibility situations can be constantly emerging.

    Taste change

    Known as dysgesia, changes in taste can be the result of a “dry mouth” due to decrease in saliva. Not only changes in taste are possible, but also the loss of the ability to taste food.

    In addition, a common symptom is burning in the mucous membranes of the mouth. Even without any apparent injury, burning, pain and tingling can be felt in the oral mucosa.

    What is the oral care for people with diabetes?

    Due to the ever-present possibility of the occurrence of oral problems, people diagnosed with diabetes must be constantly attentive to oral health conditions. Routine visits to the dentist are essential for guidance and treatment of any eventuality.

    It is therefore necessary for the person to incorporate into their routine:

    • periodic visits to the dentist;
    • assessment of your history with oral problems;
    • permanent attention to the occurrence of any problem in the gingiva and mucosa;
    • permanent and careful maintenance of oral hygiene guided by the dentist.

    Thus, the main issues related to the relationship between diabetes and oral health can be addressed with better predictions of solution and better quality of life.



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