Diabetes affects many organs in our bodies such as the eyes, nerves, heart and kidney. If you are a diabetic, it may also lead to oral health problems such as taste impairment, tooth decay, gum disease and fungal infections. You may experience dry mouth, which can cause soreness, ulcers, and white patches called thrush. If you have any type of dental procedure performed that involves cutting or scraping the gums, the healing time may be increased. While smoking is bad for everyone's overall health, it can be particularly bad for a diabetic because diabetics who smoke are significantly more likely to experience gum disease, bone loss and tooth loss.
A particular problem with diabetes is controlling the amount of glucose in the body. Believe it or not, we can carry glucose in our saliva. When the glucose levels are out of control due to diabetes, glucose in the saliva may become a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. When gum disease, inflammation or infection occur in a diabetic, they can be extremely difficult to treat.
Steps Diabetics Can Take to Improve Oral Hygiene
Pay particular attention to brushing, flossing and maintaining a high level of oral hygiene.
You may need to schedule additional cleanings with a dental hygienist to aid in the early removal of plaque and tartar.
Control your blood glucose as this can help lower your risk for periodontal disease.
Make sure your family dentist is aware that you have diabetes. Ask if there are any additional steps you can take to improve your oral hygiene.
Quit smoking to improve the appearance of your teeth and lower your risk of gum disease.
If you notice symptoms such as gums that bleed easily, pus from an abscessed tooth, persistent bad breath, a foul odor in your mouth, or teeth that are loose, you may need to find a periodontist who can treat the special needs of diabetic oral health care.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you are a diabetic or would like further information on diabetic oral health care, use our dental profiles to help find a periodontist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."