What Can Diabetes Do to Your Teeth? You Should Know. If you’re one of the nearly 30 million people living with diabetes in the United States there are some important things you should know about your oral health.
Research shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those with diabetes. This adds serious gum disease to the list of other complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. More recent research shows that people with more serious gum disease or periodontitis may actually have a harder time controlling their blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association.
People with diabetes are more prone to infection, so they have to be more aware of their oral health. Also diabetics may also be prone to fungal infections like thrush.
People with diabetes are not only at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, but they also have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums as well. According to the American Dental Association, gum disease starts when germs work to destroy your gums and the bones around your teeth. It starts with plaque, a sticky film of food, saliva and germs, which likes to settle at the gum line.
From an oral health perspective, the best defense is to take preventative measures like brushing, flossing and regular trips to the dentist—sound advice for anyone. However, if you are diabetic you might want to consider being even more vigilant.
So how does gum disease start?
Regular brushing and flossing cleans away plaque. When plaque stays put, it hardens into tartar. Tartar builds up under the gum line. More plaque forms over the tartar. Then only your dentist or dental hygienist can get tartar off your teeth.
If plaque and tartar are not cleaned away, even gentle brushing can cause your gums to bleed. This is the first sign of gum disease called gingivitis. If you ignore gingivitis, the gum disease gets worse and becomes periodontitis.
When you reach this stage, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth. Pockets form between your teeth and gums. These fill with germs and pus, and deepen. When this happens, you may need gum surgery to save your teeth. If nothing is done, the infection goes on to destroy the bone around your teeth. The teeth may start to move or get loose. Your teeth may fall out or need to be pulled, according to the American Dental Association.
So if you’re diabetic, regular trips to the dentists are essential. You may even want to see a dentist more than twice a year. And if you have any advance dental work done, be sure to do all follow up treatments.
So, if you have a root canal, for instance, you don’t want to delay putting a crown on the tooth because you are not as able fight infection.
What is Recommended?
The American Diabetes Association also recommends that close control of blood glucose levels can also help control thrush as well as dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities. Everyone but especially if you are a diabetic, you should avoid smoking. If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them daily.
Also if you have diabetes, always make sure your dentist and hygienist know about it and keep them informed of any changes in your condition or the medications you might be taking. You should also inform them if your blood sugar is not in good control or when a dental procedure is not healing properly. Also let them know if you have any sores in the mouth that are slow healing.
Dental professionals have all the tools at their disposal to help diabetics maintain good oral health. With preventative procedures like regular brushing and flossing, and regular trips to the dentist, diabetics can enjoy good oral health with a small amount of effort. We are here to help – www.deancosmeticdentistry.com
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