Diabetes type 2: The four peculiar mouth symptoms warning of high blood sugar

Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

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Diabetes type 2 is a chronic condition where the body doesn’t make enough insulin or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar to enter the body‘s cells, where it’s then used for energy. When the body doesn’t make enough or use insulin properly, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream leading to high blood sugar. The condition is known to take a toll on the entire body, but it can also increase a person’s risk of dental disease and other symptoms that show up in the mouth.

In a study published in Medicine, the tongue features associated with type 2 diabetes was investigated. 

The study noted: “Most diabetic patients are found to have oral manifestations, periodontal disease, burning mouth, salivary gland dysfunction, geographic tongue, and candidiasis.

“Buccal alterations could also be easily observed in patients, especially coated tongue.

“Tongue fur represents the retention of exfoliated mucosa cells, debris, and proliferation of microorganisms, especially on the tongue’s surface. 

“In terms of fur thickness, the proportion of thick fur in type 2 diabetes group was significantly higher than control counterpart.

“Our previous study revealed that 47.1 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes had thick fur.

According to TCM theory, tongue fur is associated with the Yang organs, especially the digestive system.

“The thick fur is usually accompanied with patterns of phlegm-dampness and blood stasis.”

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The study also found that people with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of thick or yellow tongue “fur,” as well as blue-tinged tongues.

Researchers note that evaluating tongues is a traditional Chinese practice for diagnosing type 2 diabetes.

“Elevated blood sugar levels can increase the risk of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and inflammation in the mouth,” said Dawn Turner, a diabetes educator at North-western Medicine Delnor Hospital.

She added: “Any mouth sores can also be slow to heal.”

A burning mouth or tongue could be a warning sign of diabetes, revealed the medical website the Cleveland Clinic.

It could be caused by thrush – a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue, it added.

High blood sugar levels in the mouth and saliva provide the perfect environment for fungus to grow.

“People with diabetes face a higher-than-normal risk of oral health problems,” said the health site.

“If blood sugar is poorly controlled, it is more likely that oral health problems will arise.”

Ways to help include:

  • Sipping water often
  • Sucking on ice cubes
  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
  • Limiting your salt and sugar intake
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom when you sleep
  • Taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes
  • Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy
  • Using over-the-counter toothpastes, rinses, and mints

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