Diabetes and Oral Health

By: Dr. Phoebe Tsang, DMD, PhD, Mar 10, 2012
Diabetes and Oral Health, The Children's Oral Care Centre - Dr. Phoebe Tsang

Can my diabetes affect my oral health?

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease and other dental problems.

Diabetes has become a common medical problem in adults and children. The recent estimates of people having diabetes in Canada and US have increased tremendously. The number of children diagnosed with diabetes and the young age when the diagnosis is made is very alarming as well. People diagnosed with diabetes require life-long commitments in controlling this problem, especially children who are diagnosed at a young age. Proper management of diabetes prevents future complications with eyes, nerves, kidneys and heart.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease and other dental problems. Diabetes may weaken your body's germ-fighting abilities, making your gum disease worse and slowing your healing. High blood glucose levels in your saliva help bacteria thrive, which favours the growth of tooth decay-causing bacteria in your mouth. Other oral problems diabetics are more prone to include: fungal infections, dry mouth and taste alteration. At the same time, recent studies have found a reciprocal relationship with gum disease and diabetes control. Gum disease may make your blood glucose levels harder to control.

  • Keep your dentist informed of any changes in your condition and any medication(s) you might be taking.
  • I recommend preventive oral health care, including regular exam (more frequently as needed) and professional cleaning appointments.
  • See your dentist immediately if you notice any signs and symptoms of gum disease: including bleeding, swelling, tenderness and shrinking of your gum.

Dr. Phoebe Tsang is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (F.R.C.D.) in Pediatric Dentistry and a licensed Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry in BC.  The Royal College of Dentists of Canada is an organization which ensures high standards of specialization in the dental profession and recognizes properly trained dental specialists through comprehensive qualifying exams. Visit Dr. Tsang at the Children's Oral Care Centre in Abbotsford, BC. 

Outside of the office, Dr. Tsang is a clinical assistant professor of Faculty of Dentistry who is actively engaged in teaching dental students at the University of British Columbia and general practice residents at Vancouver General Hospital and British Columbia's Children's Hospital. 

Read Dr. Tsang's blog here