People often focus on an illness itself and neglect other aspects of health, like gums and teeth. Keeping a close eye on oral health, especially for diabetic patients, is important to avoid dental problems in the future; balancing their needs is difficult, and diabetes-related issues often take precedence over health concerns.
Diabetes patients must monitor their blood sugar levels to maintain good oral health. White blood cells help your body fight mouth infections. High blood sugar levels may weaken them, making infections difficult to fight. Consulting a dentist to create a diabetes dental action plan is important to avoid any complications, regardless of the type of diabetes you have.
How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health
High blood sugar levels also result in high sugar levels in saliva. Plaque is a sticky film full of bacteria, and your saliva keeps it from forming. High sugar levels in saliva provide the bacteria in plaque with more food to digest, making them more capable of causing tooth decay, gum disease, cavities, and eventual tooth loss.
Diabetes also makes gum disease more severe, taking longer to heal. Gum diseases also make diabetes management more difficult.
Dental Problems Diabetic Patients Face
Diabetes patients are at greater risk for developing the following dental problems:
Saliva has enzymes capable of fighting off harmful bacteria. Diabetes decreases saliva production and dries out your mouth, leaving it vulnerable to infections, infections, and sores.
Diabetes patients have compromised immune systems that can’t fight infections as well as they should. This includes mouth and gum diseases. Diabetic patients must take care of their mouth well with regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque. Otherwise, plaque can accumulate and turn into tartar, which can irritate the gums or gingiva.
This results in gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums.
Leaving gingivitis untreated leads to a more severe stage of gum disease. Periodontitis damages the soft tissues and bones holding your teeth in place, leading to bone and tooth loss that require more invasive treatments. Preventing gingivitis from getting to this point is important, especially for diabetes patients, because they have many dental considerations before dentists can perform any procedures. Healing is slow in diabetic patients, and conditions like periodontitis can make blood sugar levels rise and making diabetes more difficult to manage.
Our mouths are full of bacteria—good and bad. The food you eat leaves sugars and starches that nourish these bacteria, allowing them to accumulate and turn into plaque and produce acids that damage your teeth’s enamel.
Damage to the enamel weakens it, making it easier for bacteria to reach dentin, the inner layer of your teeth. This results in tooth decay.
Diabetic patients have higher levels of sugars in their bodies, including saliva. This increases the activity of bacteria and leads to increased acid levels that damage your enamel.
Dental Care for Diabetic Patients
These are some tips from Sunrise Dentistry to help you maintain healthy gums and teeth.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control and follow your doctor’s instructions. The more control you have, the lesser your risk of developing complications and gum disease.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily to prevent cavities. Brushing teeth after each meal removes any food particles that harmful bacteria may digest.
- Replace your toothbrush every two months. Bacteria can thrive on toothbrushes. Regularly replacing them will lessen the bacteria that reach your gums, mouth, or teeth. Make sure to use soft-bristled brushes to prevent damaging your enamel.
- Make sure to visit the dentist regularly. Most dentists may request dental X-rays to determine if you have any dental problems. They can also perform professional teeth cleanings or dental examinations.
- Hydrate before heading to the dentist. Bring healthy snacks if necessary to prevent low blood sugar.
- Tell your dentist that you have diabetes. This will allow your dentist to create a treatment plan for you and make the necessary adjustments you need. You may also give them your physician’s details if necessary.
- Stop smoking. Smoking will only worsen your condition and increase your risk of developing dental problems. You may ask your doctor for tips on how to quit.
Diabetes is a disease that affects your overall health, including your teeth and gums. Diabetic patients face many oral problems like tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontitis, and a dry mouth. Having dental problems also makes diabetes more difficult to control.
Aside from managing their disease, diabetic patients need to care for their oral health. You must visit your dentist regularly and let them know about your condition. Brushing twice a day, quitting cigarettes, and managing your diabetes will help ensure your oral health. You may also dental websites for more information on how dentists can help care for your oral health.