Did you know that almost 10% of the whole population in the United States have diabetes? That is 29.1 million people diagnosed with diabetes and 8.1 million people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.
Diabetic patients are more susceptible to oral infections than non-diabetic patients. Diabetics may experience diminished salivary flow and a burning tongue or mouth sensation which may become worse leading to tooth decay. However, with proper dental care and insulin control, diabetics can stand a better chance of avoiding gum disease.
How Can Diabetes Hurt My Teeth And Gums?
Mouth infections demand immediate treatment. Dentists may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and more frequent cleanings to avoid complications related to bacterial infections due to high blood sugar levels. To keep teeth and gums strong, diabetic patients must have their blood sugar, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels checked regularly. These may have a direct correlation on chances of developing periodontal disease.
Affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed, periodontitis becomes the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes. As with all infections, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise even more. This makes diabetes harder to control, making you more susceptible to infections and bacteria invading the gums.
Tooth and gum problems can happen to anyone. High blood glucose helps bacteria grow in your mouth filled with plaque – especially for people who smoke and are at the age of 45 or older. Some symptoms are red, sore, and swollen gums that bleed when brushing teeth. If left untreated, high blood glucose can make tooth and gum problems worse, making your gums pull away from your teeth and make them appear longer. In worst cases, you may even lose your teeth.
Other oral health risks caused by diabetes are as follows:
✔ Dry mouth
✔ Cavities caused by less saliva to protect your teeth
✔ Bleeding and inflamed gums
✔ Problems tasting food.
✔ Delayed oral wound healing
✔ Mouth infections
✔ For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an earlier age than normal
When Is The Best Time To Receive Dental Care?
Dental procedures are normally as short and stress-free as possible. It’s more recommended to make morning appointments wherein blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of the day.
In order to achieve the best health care, your oral health professional needs to know if:
✔ You have diabetes
✔ You have trouble keeping your blood sugar levels under control
✔ You notice changes in your mouth such as patches of whitish-coloured skin
✔ There have been other changes in your medical history
✔ The names of any medications (prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs) you are taking.
Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing the progression of diabetes. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
Here are some oral health-related things you can do for optimal wellness:
✔ Control your blood sugar levels.
✔ Use your diabetes-related medications as directed
✔ Change to a better and healthier diet with exercise
✔ Avoid smoking
✔ If you wear any type of denture, clean it daily
✔ Brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss
See your dentist for regular checkups.