Diabetes can seriously affect your entire body, though many areas are ignored much of the time. Many people like to focus on the feet and the heart, and while those are very important, there are many other areas at risk for diabetics as well.
One of the most overlooked areas for diabetics is the mouth. Like all other areas of the body, the nerves in the mouth can be damaged quite easily as a result of diabetes. This can result in a wide variety of dangerous and uncomfortable issues.
For example, you may lose some of your sense of taste, which is not only a massive inconvenience but can also be incredibly dangerous if you ingest something poisonous and you don’t realize it.
Another serious effect diabetes can have on your mouth is that you may be at greater risk of things like infections. Since diabetes damages your nerves, your body may not realize that an infection has begun until it’s already spread too much and is too big to take on without medicine.
In some cases this can lead to symptoms as minor as bad breath and as major as severe gum disease. This nerve damage can also make it difficult for your body to heal wounds in your mouth properly.
Your body can’t send the signals as well that you have a wound that needs healing, so it can take it bit longer for the whole process. Combined with the bacteria-rich environment that is your mouth, and you have the perfect recipe for infections.
You also may experience a drier mouth with diabetes. Production of saliva won’t be nearly as good, so you may end up with and uncomfortable dry mouth feeling. However, the comfort isn’t the only concern; a dry mouth puts you at greater risk of getting cavities, since saliva protects against that.
Diabetics are also at higher risk of gingivitis, a type of gum disease in which your gums get enflamed, swollen, red, and can even begin to bleed. Although, you can avoid gingivitis if you keep up good oral hygiene habits.
This means it’s very important that you visit your dentist regularly so they can make sure you’re not showing any signs of any of these diseases, as they could easily cause further complications such as a weakened immune system. It’s been shown in various lab studies that regular visits to a dentist can lower blood sugar in diabetics, making it easier to control overall.
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