People with diabetes are more likely to have oral health problems. Infections and gum irritations are harder to treat in diabetics, and can more easily progress into advanced stages. Therefore, if you have diabetes, it’s vital to be extra careful about practicing good dental hygiene and maintaining optimum oral health.
Some of the dental issues that diabetic patients face include:
- Higher risk of gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis
- Increased risk of cavities
- Trouble fighting bacteria, allowing increased plaque buildup on teeth
- More tartar, which irritates the gums
- Higher risk of tooth loss if gum disease reaches advanced stages
- More susceptible to bacterial infections, which can delay the healing process
- Higher risk of dry mouth, which often causes cavities
Unfortunately, oral health problems can also affect your overall health. If you have diabetes and also gum disease, it is harder to control your diabetes. Severe gum disease elevates blood sugar, which in turn puts you at higher risk of diabetic complications.
As a diabetic, follow these recommendations for dental care:
- Visit the dentist at least every six months, and discuss any changes in your condition or medications.
- Brush a minimum of twice daily, and floss every day.
- Consider using an anti-bacterial toothpaste or mouthwash to prevent gum disease.
- If you wear dentures, properly care for them to avoid oral thrush.
- Discuss scaling and root planning procedures with your dentist, which can clean your teeth better so that bacteria can’t cling to them as well.
Another thing to remember is to report any health issues to your dentist if you have any dental procedures scheduled. Complications like trouble regulating your blood sugar level can impact the safety of certain procedures, such as oral surgery or implant placement. It can also affect your ability to heal properly.