Signs of diabetes in the mouth can lead to ‘tooth loss’ warns expert

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Type 2 diabetes, which is defined by a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream, can cause damage in areas you might not expect it to. Several symptoms – some more subtle than others – can even pop up in your mouth. Left untreated, they may cause you to lose your teeth.

One symptom in the mouth that’s easy to miss is having a dry mouth.

A dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva – usually because you haven’t drunk enough water.

But a dry mouth can also be caused by type 1 or type 2 diabetes, although the reason isn’t fully understood. Diabetes experts at diabetesstrong.com suggest rocketing levels of sugar in your blood may have something to do with it.

The Mayo Clinic warns: “Without saliva to keep your mouth moist and bathe your teeth, you could be at risk of tooth decay, gum disease and thrush.”

Tooth decay

This is another, more obvious symptom, that can also be caused by high blood sugar levels.

Bacteria in your mouth cause tooth decay. When they react to sugary foods, they release a sticky film that we all know as plaque. Plaque contains acids that attack your teeth.

The Mayo Clinic explains the link between diabetes and high levels of plaque: “The higher your blood sugar level, the greater the supply of sugars and starches — and the more acid wearing away at your teeth.”

The buildup of plaque causes another issue if it isn’t removed – early gum disease. This is another sign of diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.

It added: “The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the part of your gums around the base of your teeth, called the gingiva.

“In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis.”

Gingivitis can cause you to lose bone around your teeth and cause your gums to recess – and eventually, tooth loss, explains Diabetes UK.

Painful white or red patches

Thrush is another sign of diabetes. High levels of sugar in your saliva, caused by the condition, feed a yeast infection called candida – the cause of thrush.

The signs of this are painful white or red patches in your mouth.

Periodontitis

One of the worst mouth symptoms that can develop from diabetes is periodontitis. This is a condition that follows an untreated gingivitis infection.

“Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which in turn causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out,” Mayo Clinic notes.

Abscesses and an irritated and sore mouth can also be caused by diabetes.

If you spot any of these symptoms in your mouth, don’t ignore them. Make an appointment with your dentist.

If these symptoms occur alongside other common diabetes symptoms such as blurry vision, weight loss and fatigue – do not hesitate to see your doctor.

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