If you have type 1 diabetes, which is also referred to as juvenile diabetes, then you were probably diagnosed at a young age. This condition causes your blood glucose to rise to sometimes dangerous levels because your pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin. While type 1 diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and vision loss, it can also raise the risk for oral problems. Here are three ways type 1 diabetes can delay oral healing, and what you can do about them:
If you are contemplating getting tooth implants, talk with both your dentist and physician about ways to help enhance your circulation after your dental implant surgery. Diabetics are at high risk for circulation problems, which most commonly affect the legs, ankles, and feet, however, poor circulation and blood vessel damage can also occur in your mouth. This can lead to slow wound healing after your dental implant procedure and it can also heighten your risk for developing a post-surgical infection.
Oral yeast and fungal infections are common in people with type 1 diabetes. When blood sugar levels rise to high concentrations, glucose can accumulate and thrive inside your mouth. Too much sugar in your oral cavity is a breeding ground for yeast infections such as candidiasis, and if not recognized and treated promptly, can delay healing after your implant procedure.
If you notice white patches anywhere on your tongue, throat, or on the lining of your cheeks that bleed easily, you may have a yeast infection. Your dentist can prescribe an anti-fungal oral rinse to help clear the infection, however, once your blood sugar levels are under control, your risk for developing oral infections will decrease.
The combination of poor circulation and oral fungal infections can raise your risk for periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. While gingivitis can lead to red, irritated gums that bleed, periodontitis can actually damage your gum tissue and the underlying bones that support your teeth.
If you have type 1 diabetes, visit your dentist at the first sign of bleeding or swollen gums. A meticulous regimen of brushing and flossing will help minimize your risk for periodontitis, however, your dentist will need to intervene to ensure that you are receiving the proper treatment.
If you have type 1 diabetes, work with both your dental professional and your primary care physician to develop a plan of care that will help keep your mouth healthy, while improving your overall state of general health.