Diabetes is a disease that can affect your entire body –and that includes your mouth. With this in mind it’s important that you take care of your teeth and gums.
For diabetics, increased levels of blood glucose cause the additional worry of putting you at risk for oral health problems.
One reason people with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems is due to poor blood sugar control and the fact that with all infections, gum disease can have the effect of causing your blood sugar to rise.
This condition makes makes diabetes more difficult to control due to a higher susceptibility to infections and a decreased ability to fight off bacteria attacking your gums.
Warning signs to be on the lookout for:
- You may have less saliva, which will cause your mouth to feel dry. Be mindful that certain medications can also cause a decrease in saliva output. Since saliva protects your teeth, the lack of it can put you at a higher risk of cavities.
- Antibiotics to fight infections are more likely to create oral fungal infection. It can create the sensation that your mouth and tongue are burning.
- Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
- You may have difficulty tasting food.
- You may experience longer period of time for healing.
- You may be more susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
- For children with diabetes, teeth may come out at an age earlier than is typical.
You can do a lot to avoid these problems, starting with the basics of taking good care of your mouth, teeth, and gums.
Work With Your DentistOne of the best methods of prevention is to have an open conversation with your dentist. Make sure they know if you have diabetes and what medicines you take.
Dental Care Tips
- Get your teeth and gums cleaned and checked no less than twice year. Depending upon your condition, the dentist may recommend you visit them more often
- Have dry mouth? Try to gargle with mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol.
- Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible.
- As a general rule it’s prudent to wait at least 30 minutes following a meal before brushing. This is to protect tooth enamel that might have been softened by different acids in the food you ate.
- Use a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Floss at least once a day.
- If you wear dentures keep them clean. And be sure to remove them before you sleep.
- Don’t smoke!