Diabetes At Greater Risk of Infections and Oral Diseases
If you have diabetes, youre at a greater risk of suffering from oral infections and diseases, including periodontal disease.
Diabetes frequently causes blood vessels to thicken and become less elastic, which decreases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the bodys tissues and slows the removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken your mouths resistance to infection.
Also, the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for periodontal disease thrive on sugars, including glucose, the sugar linked to diabetes. If diabetes isnt controlled properly, high glucose levels in your saliva feed these bacteria and set the stage for gum disease. Interestingly the reverse is also true; an infection of the gums makes it more difficult for you to control your blood sugar.
Diabetics who dont successfully control their blood sugar levels often experience a decreased flow of saliva, which can lead to a condition called dry mouth or xerostomia. A lack of moisture in the mouth allows plaque, a sticky film of food residue and bacteria, to build up on teeth. Plaque accumulation is the main cause of periodontal disease, so its important for everyone, especially diabetics, to remove plaque from their teeth each day by flossing and brushing. If not completely removed every day, plaque builds up and mineralizes to become tartar, which can only be removed by a professional. Thats why regular cleanings at your dentist are so important.
To help prevent bacterial infections in your mouth, we may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, and more frequent dental cleanings. With good dental and medical care, your gums and teeth can remain healthy and free of periodontal disease.
Dental Tips For Diabetic Patients
Controlling your blood glucose is the most important step you can take to prevent tooth and gum problems. People with diabetes, especially those whose blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, are more likely to get gum infections than nondiabetics.
Use a soft-bristle brush between the gums and the teeth in a vibrating motion. Place the rubber tip on the toothbrush between the teeth and move it in a circle.
If you notice that your gums bleed while you are eating or brushing your teeth, see a dentist to determine if you have a beginning infection. You should also notify your dentist if you notice other abnormal changes in your mouth, such as patches of whitish-colored skin.
Have a dental checkup every six months. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes and ask him or her to demonstrate procedures that will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.
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