6 Things Diabetics Need To Know About Denture Stomatitis
More than one-quarter of diabetics over 50 have lost all of their teeth, and many of them choose to replace their missing teeth with dentures. Dentures are a great way to replace all of your teeth, but when you have diabetes, you may suffer from complications such as denture stomatitis. Here's what you need to know about this condition.
What is denture stomatitis?
Denture stomatitis is a type of fungal infection that develops inside your mouth. It's caused by a fungus called candida; this fungus is also known as yeast. This infection doesn't always cause symptoms, so you may not know there's something wrong until your dentist points it out. Other people suffer from symptoms like red, swollen gums and pain while wearing their dentures. You may also see white patches on your gums; these patches are the yeast colonies.
Does diabetes cause it?
Diabetes is a known risk factor for denture stomatitis. If your diabetes isn't well-controlled, your high blood sugar levels can contribute to the development of denture stomatitis. This is because the yeast feeds on the high levels of sugar in your saliva, and since the yeast is so well-fed, it can grow out of control.
High blood sugar levels aren't the only reason that so many diabetics have denture stomatitis. Diabetes causes other changes inside your mouth, such as a reduced flow of saliva. Saliva lubricates your gum tissue, so if you don't have enough of it, your dentures can rub against your gums and damage them, which makes them more susceptible to fungal infection. Diabetes also weakens your immune system, so when the fungus takes hold in your damaged gums, you can't fight it off very well.
Do all diabetics with dentures develop this condition?
Denture stomatitis is a very common complication for diabetics who wear dentures, but it doesn't happen to everyone. Studies have shown that about 61% of diabetics develop this complication, compared to only 38% of denture wearers without diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar levels, keeping your mouth moist, and taking out your dentures when you go to sleep can help prevent this complication.
Is it dangerous?
Denture stomatitis can be uncomfortable, but as long as it's treated quickly, it's not serious. You need to get it treated so that you can wear your dentures without any discomfort, and to make sure that it doesn't spread to other parts of your body. The yeast, if it's not treated, can enter your bloodstream and spread to other areas of your body.
How is it treated?
Denture stomatitis is treated with antifungal medications. These medications work by killing the candida fungus that is responsible for the infection. Antifungal medications come in multiple forms, like gels, pills, and lozenges. Your dentist may tell you to stop wearing your dentures until the infection is gone; this is to allow your gums a chance to heal.
How can you prevent a recurrence?
Denture stomatitis can recur, but you can prevent this by making some small changes in your lifestyle. Make sure to clean your dentures regularly and take them out every night when you go to sleep. Your dentist may recommend using artificial saliva to keep your gums lubricated and protected from your dentures. You may also need to work with your family doctor to control your blood sugar levels more effectively.
Denture stomatitis is a common problem for diabetics, but if you're careful, you can prevent it. If you think you already have this condition, see your dentist right away for treatment. If you haven't been to the dentist in a long time, you could have this condition without knowing it, and should schedule a checkup soon at a denture clinic in your area.