How is Dental Care and Diabetes Related?

How is Dental Care and Diabetes Related?

Diabetes and Dental Health

Diabetes is a problem that can impact you and your entire body extremely adversely, one of the areas of influence being the mouth. This is why it is important to maintain dental hygiene especially if you have diabetes because you will be at high risk for contracting oral problems especially due to poor blood circulation. The reason is that the diabetes may impair blood cells and thus break down the first line of defense that protects the mouth against infection.

Diabetes and Oral Problems

People who have diabetes are susceptible to the following oral problems

Dry Mouth

If your blood sugar levels are not controlled, there will be a gradual decrease in the quantity of saliva in your mouth. This in turn will cause tooth decay, infections, ulcers, and soreness all of which are extremely painful.

Gum Inflammation

Besides interfering with the blood cells, diabetes is also known to cause the blood vessels to thicken. Due to this the flow of nutrients to and the flow of waste from the system is hindered and the capacity of the body to fight off any infection is adversely affected. A direct consequence is the periodontal disease which can lead to frequent health problems.

Poor Healing For The Oral Tissues

People who have uncontrolled diabetes have been found to take a lot of time to heal after oral surgery courtesy of sluggish flow of blood.

Handling Thrush

If you are suffering from the diabetes, you may need to use antibiotics more often to ward off infections and this could cause thrush. Victims of uncontrolled diabetes usually suffer from thrush because the high level of sugar in saliva provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The result is burning sensation in the tongue or the mouth. Likewise, diabetics who smoke are at a higher risk of suffering from mouth problems as compared to others who do not smoke.

Seeking Medical Advice

Since incidence of diabetes makes you more susceptible to oral problems, one way of keeping them at bay entails observing good dental hygiene. Any change that may take place in your mouth should be immediately reported to the doctor so that necessary steps towards treatment can be taken. Likewise, one way of ensuring good health entails maintaining normal blood sugar levels as far as possible.

When you visit the dentist, you must be forthcoming about your diabetes and preferably show him the medication as also the prescribed dosage that you might be taking. Once the dentist is aware of such details, he can then advise you in the matter and also suggest the right method of treatment.

Maintaining Oral Health

For good oral health, you must visit your dentist at least twice every month and get your mouth cleaned. Also the inevitable build up on the surface of the teeth should be regularly removed with dental floss. Every meal should be followed by cleaning of teeth with a toothbrush comprising of gentle bristles and if you have dentures, you need to remove and clean them every day. In case you do smoke, exploring options on how to quit this habit and asking the doctor for advice would be a good idea because it would contribute heavily towards good dental care.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad