Can diabetes affect oral care?
Over 20 million Americans have diabetes, a disease that results from having too much sugar in the blood. It can happen either as a result of the body not producing enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or that the body stops responding to insulin (type 2 diabetes).
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, having too much sugar in your blood can take a toll on your health, including your oral health.
Diabetes and Gum and Teeth Diseases
All of us have bacteria in our mouth. And these bacteria feed on sugar.
If you have uncontrolled diabetes, your poor blood sugar control can make you more prone to dental health problems, such as:
- Tooth cavities
When the bacteria in the mouth interact with starches and sugar from food and drinks, they form a sticky film, called plaque, on the teeth.
The plaque has acids that attack the surface of the teeth, eventually leading to cavities and gum disease.
If you have unmanaged diabetes and you don’t brush and floss regularly, you are increasing your risk of developing gum diseases like gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes redness, irritation, and swelling of the gingiva, the part of the gum around the base of the teeth.
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that destroys the soft tissues and bones that support your teeth.
People with diabetes tend to have more severe cases of periodontitis as the disease lowers their ability to fight infections.
Oral Care for Diabetics
Learning to manage your blood sugar level and taking care of your dental health goes hand-in-hand. Without the other, your diabetes may worsen (gum diseases can actually raise your blood sugar level) or both your physical and dental health may suffer.
If you’re diabetic, it’s important to:
- Commit to lifestyle changes
Your diet and physical activity play a significant role in managing your blood sugar level. There are a lot of people who were successful in controlling their diabetes and even getting out of it simply by committing to serious lifestyle changes like eating well and making sure to have regular physical activity.
- Brush and floss your teeth daily
These two simple habits can make a lot of difference. They keep plaque from building up. The buildup of plaque on the teeth causes irritation of the gingiva.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride-containing toothpaste and make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
When flossing, use the waxed variety. If you’re struggling in manipulating the floss, use a floss holder.
- Schedule regular dental visits
Even if you are consistent in brushing and flossing your teeth, it’s still highly recommended to visit your dentist. He/she can provide your teeth and gums a thorough examination and recommend the next appropriate intervention.
Regular visits often include X-rays and professional cleanings, which helps catch gum disease in their early stages.
Cakmes Dental Studio has a team of dental care professionals who have years of experience in dealing with different types of dental health issues.
Take care of your dental health. For appointments, you may call us at (865) 584-6163.