Diabetes And Dental Care: Guide To A Healthy Mouth
You might wonder what the link between diabetes and oral health problems is. The answer is high blood sugar. Suppose the high blood sugar is under poor control. In that case, oral health problems are more likely to develop as uncontrolled diabetes weakens white blood cells, the body’s primary defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that could affect the mouth if not managed early or properly, predisposing you to oral health problems like tooth decay and gums infections. Diabetes, especially in the elderly, many times than often, would develop. Hence, as reviewed by one of the board-certified dentists in Gilbert, AZ, this piece provides a guide on proper dental care and its maintenance if you have diabetes.
Cavities, Gum Disease, And Other Problems
When you have diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, it increases your risk of:
Tozth decay: This is also called cavities. When the starches and sugars in foods and beverages interact with the myriad of natural bacteria in your mouth, a sticky film known as plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in plaque then attack the surfaces of the teeth leading to cavities and gum disease.
Advanced gum disease: Otherwise called periodontitis, destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth, eventually causing your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which in turn causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.
Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people with diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. A condition such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, making your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis with regular dental cleanings can help improve blood sugar control.
Thrush: Thrush is a fungal infection caused by the yeast Candida albicans, which people with diabetes may be more likely to develop. Some signs include painful white or red patches inside your mouth.
Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, which some people with diabetes also experience. Saliva is necessary to keep your mouth moist and bathe your teeth; you could be at risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and thrush.
Proper Dental Care
Diabetes is enough trouble on its own, and then getting to develop oral health issues could become a little overwhelming. Hence, to prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously by doing the following:
Committing to managing your diabetes: Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your endocrinologist’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day: This is not new, but it needs further emphasis. Brush in the morning, at night, and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums.
Flossing your teeth at least once a day: Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline.
Schedule and honor regular dental visits:
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings, X-rays, and checkups.
- Ensure your dentist knows you have diabetes, and also, every time you visit your dentist, remind them of this.
- Make sure your dentist has contact information for your endocrinologist.
Cease smoking: Smoking increases the risk of severe diabetes complications, including gum disease and, ultimately, loss of your teeth. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.
Look for early signs of gum disease: Look for and report any signs of gum disease, including redness, swelling, and bleeding gums, to your dentist. Also, mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth, or mouth pain.
Visit us at Town Square Dental to get your regular dental checkups.