People with poorly controlled diabetes are more vulnerable to the millions of germs that live in your mouth and dental problems caused by them. As a result, they are more likely to have infections of their gums and the bones that hold the teeth in place. Diabetes can also causes a decrease in blood supply to the gums making them more susceptible to disease. In addition, high blood sugar may cause dry mouth and make gum disease worse. The decrease in saliva can cause an increase in tooth decaying bacteria and plaque build up.
When a person with diabetes has good blood sugar control, there's no increased risk of dental problems.
In every issue of WebMD the Magazine, we ask our experts to answer readers' questions about a wide range of topics. In our January-February 2011 issue, we asked WebMD's Diabetes Expert, Michael Dansinger, MD, whether stevia, a new natural sweetener, is a good sugar substitute for people with diabetes.