Published on August 12th, 2019
According to reliable estimates, there are over 29 million people in just the United States suffering from diabetes, out of which, a third remains undiagnosed.
A number of scientific studies have clearly established that there is a very close link between diabetes and the development of oral and dental diseases.
When compared to non-diabetics, people suffering from diabetes have been found to have more severe oral infections; the problem is even more in aging patients.
1. The Relationship Between Diabetes And Gum Disease
The natural resistance to infection of the human body is severely reduced in patients with diabetes. This results in a number of oral health complications such as gingivitis, a gum inflammation caused by plaque bacteria.
In the absence of regular dental checkups, untreated gum disease may lead to periodontitis that is not only very painful but also result in the damage to tissues supporting and surrounding teeth, bone, gums, etc.
The effect of periodontitis is that the gums and the jawbone are pulled away from the teeth causing them to become loose and even fall out.
Those suffering from diabetes tend to develop periodontitis that is more severe since diabetes lowers the infection resistance ability and slows down the healing process.
Further, the blood sugar level could rise due to periodontitis and make diabetes control even more difficult.
2. What Other Health Issues Could Be Experienced?
It is quite common for diabetics to suffer from fungal infections like oral candidiasis and thrush or experience a burning mouth syndrome.
They can also develop dry mouth that can accelerate dental decay. To counter this, a dentist may prescribe medicated mouthwashes, antibiotics, and frequent cleaning.
Oral bacteria interacts with the sugar and starch in food and drink to form plaque on the teeth. The plaque contains acids that wear away the tooth surfaces and cause cavities to form.
The elevated blood sugar levels in diabetics makes for increased acid production and wearing away of the teeth.
3. How Can Diabetics Have Good Dental Health?
Proper dental care is the only way that diabetics can prevent damage to gums and teeth. Good oral care will only be possible with a strong commitment to managing diabetes well.
It is important to monitor your blood sugar level and control it with medications, balanced diet, and appropriate exercise. The better the diabetes is controlled, the easier it is to prevent the development of gingivitis, cavities, and other dental issues.
Steps Diabetics Can Take For Improved Oral Health
At Home: Teeth should be brushed at least two times daily, in the morning and before retiring, and preferably after every time you eat something.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging the gums and toothpaste that has fluoride. Do not indulge in harsh or vigorous scrubbing to avoid irritating the gums.
If there are any medical conditions that prevent proper brushing consider using an electric toothbrush. Change your brush every three months at least.
Remember to floss your teeth daily to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth and under the gum line. Consider using a floss holder in case of difficulty in manipulating the floss.
At The Dentist’s: Make sure that you visit the dentist at least once in six months for checkups and professional cleaning services.
Inform your dentist about your diabetes every time you visit and ensure that he has the contact details of the physician managing your diabetes.
Inform the dentist of any sign of gum disease, indicated by redness, bleeding or swollen gums, or symptoms such as mouth pain, loose teeth, dry mouth, etc. If you are looking for a dentist near your home, you can try looking at the yelp page of the listed dentists.
Managing diabetes calls for a lot of commitment but has a number of benefits, including improved oral and dental health. Performing essential dental care functions and visiting your dentist periodically can keep your gums and teeth from being negatively impacted by diabetes.