Diabetes is a kind of disease that has a detrimental effect on health, as it can harm the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and several other important systems in our body. Well, this doesn’t stop over here if you have fallen prey to diabetes then it can also have a hampering effect on your mouth too. Keeping a healthy mouth is an essential thing that everyone should follow but it becomes a tough task for the ones who have diabetes because people who have diabetes, find it a harder task to maintain a healthy mouth.
If you are also one who has high blood sugar, then you should learn how you can avoid health problems to maintain your oral health. Taking care of your oral health is a vital thing to do as good oral health habits can help prevent pain and infections from tooth and gum disease.
Taking care of oral health is an important thing to do if you have diabetes, as due to high blood sugar your white blood cells can get weakened. White blood cells are important as they help to maintain your body’s immunity and fight the infections that can occur in your mouth.
If you have diabetes then for maintaining that sparkling smile on your face, you need to manage your blood sugar levels. By doing this you are preventing gum and teeth diseases to attack your oral health. If you also have diabetes then you are more likely prone to oral health problems such as cavities, and infections of the gums and bones that hold your teeth in place because if you have diabetes then it can reduce the supply of blood to that particular area.
If you have higher blood sugar levels, then it is higher in your saliva too. This leads to the formation of plaque, which is a sticky film, formed due accumulation of bacteria and germs. Well, some of these bacteria, can cause several oral health such as tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases. If this is not treated this can further lead to tooth decay and even tooth loss. Not just this, if you fall prey to gum diseases then this can be more severe as they take more time to heal if anyone has diabetes. If you have gum disease, then it becomes a tough task to manage your diabetes.
Here’s a quick look at how diabetes can take its toll on your oral health:
- You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry. (Dry mouth is also caused by certain medicines.)
- Your gums may become inflamed and bleed often (signs of gum disease).
- Infections in your mouth can take longer to heal.
Diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease:
Gum diseases are caused by an infection that destroys the bone which surrounds and supports your teeth. This bone is the one that holds your teeth into your jawbone and it allows you to chew comfortably. Bacteria and food debris called dental plaque lead to the formation of gum disease.
If it is left on teeth and gums, plaque gets hardened to form calculus or tartar. The plaque and calculus irritate the gums around teeth and due to this they become red and swollen and it even starts to bleed. As gum disease progresses, this also affects the underlying bone which is eventually lost. Teeth become loose and due to this reason, they may fall out by themselves or may need to be removed.
Gum diseases are more common and they are more severe in people who have suboptimal blood glucose levels. This is because they generally have lower resistance to infection and reduced healing capacity within them.
It is important to look after your oral health and control your blood glucose levels so that your gums become strong and it can prevent gum diseases. Treating gum disease helps in improving blood glucose levels in people living with diabetes, and people with blood glucose levels in the target range respond very well to dental treatment.
Symptoms of gum diseases include:
You need to see your dentist immediately if you notice any signs and symptoms of gum disease, which include:
- red, swollen, tender, bleeding gums
- a persistent discharge (pus) coming from the gums
- gums that are loose and pull away from the teeth
- a bad taste or bad breath
- loose teeth – this can change the ‘feel’ of your bite when your teeth are placed together or may make dentures fit differently
- Spaces opening up in between your teeth.
Diabetes and tooth decay:
Due to increased blood glucose levels, people who have high diabetes may have more glucose in their saliva and that can lead to very dry mouths. Due to this particular condition, the build-up of plaque on teeth occurs which can eventually lead to tooth decay and the formation of cavities.
Plaque formed in your teeth can be removed if you regularly clean your teeth and gums twice a day daily with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that consists of fluoride in it. You need to keep in mind that while brushing over the gums where they meet the teeth bushing them too hard leads into can cause some serious gum loss. Hence using interdental cleaners or dental floss on daily basis for cleaning in between your teeth is a good thing to do. And taking good care of teeth helps in prohibiting cavities and gum diseases.
Diabetes and oral fungal infections:
Oral thrush which is also known as candidiasis is a type of fungal infection. It is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast, known as Candida albicans, which lives in the mouth and in between your teeth. Some conditions that are caused by diabetes such as high glucose in saliva, lowered resistance to infection, and dry mouth (low saliva levels) can easily lead in encouraging the overgrowth of these fungi, which leads to oral thrush.
Oral thrush causes uncomfortable feelings, and at times it also creates ulcerated white or red patches on the skin of the mouth. Maintaining a good mouth, hygiene, and blood glucose levels in the target range can help to treat oral thrush easily. Your dentist can treat this condition by prescribing antifungal medications if it is required.
Caring for your teeth and gums:
If you are a person who has diabetes, then the below-enumerated points are highly recommended for you:
- Following your doctor’s advice about diet and medication for keeping your blood glucose levels as close to the target levels as possible and keeping them in check.
- Cleaning your teeth and gums twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Use dental flossing or interdental cleaners once a day to clean in between your teeth.
- Visiting your dentist every 6 to 12 months so that they can check your mouth, teeth, and gums for any signs of oral conditions. Because professionally cleaning your teeth and giving advice about caring for your teeth and gums at home is an essential things to know.
- Talk to your dentist about your blood glucose levels and what medications you are taking and also get a diet that helps in maintaining your blood sugar levels.
- Avoid having a dry mouth and to do this try drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum for stimulating saliva flow.
Maintaining proper dental care:
For helping to prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously:
You need to make a commitment to manage your diabetes and keep it under control. Monitoring your blood sugar levels, and following your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The more you control your blood sugar levels, the better, there is less chance that you are to develop gingivitis and several other dental problems.
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing once a day is a vital things to do. Brushing in the morning, at night, and, ideally, after meals and snacks is something that you should always do. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride is something that you need to do. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, as this can irritate your gums. Consider using an electric toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems as it can make it difficult to brush well. Getting a new toothbrush at least every three months is an important thing to do.
Flossing your teeth at least once a day is required if you are a diabetic patient. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gum line. If you have trouble getting dental floss through your teeth, use the waxed variety. If it’s hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder. Scheduling regular dental visits. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings, X-rays, and check-ups to help in preventing oral diseases that can create serious problems in the future. Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment and this is something that would help you, and to keep your diabetes in control proper dental care is an important thing.