Dental Tips for Diabetes Patients

Did you know 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes? Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. High blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, people who have diabetes can be at a special risk for periodontal (gum) disease, gum and teeth infections. Periodontal disease can lead to painful chewing difficulties and tooth loss. People with diabetes are also more susceptible to dry mouth, a dental condition that can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and tooth decay.

Keeping your glucose under control is key to maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing issues. In addition, daily brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups are the best defense against oral complications of diabetes.

But why do people with diabetes have to be extra conscientious about dental hygiene?
Because of high blood glucose, people with diabetes are more likely to have problems with teeth and gums. According to the American Diabetes Association, if your blood glucose level is poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics. Patients with diabetes should be observant with their tooth and gum health, monitoring any issues that can include blood when brushing and flossing, dryness, soreness, white patches, or bad taste in the mouth. Another oral problem associated with diabetes include thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth. All of these issues would be a reason to come see us.

It’s also important that patients with diabetes do not smoke or chew tobacco—doing so can increase your chances of getting gum disease or other dental issues listed above. Besides brushing, flossing each day is also essential to healthy teeth and gums. It is a great method to removing plaque, which can cause tooth decay and in some cases, attribute to heart disease.

What is gum disease?shutterstock_28627237
Gum disease afflicts 30 million Americans who have diabetes. It is the inflammation of the soft tissue and abnormal loss of bone that surrounds the teeth and holds them in place, caused by toxins secreted by the bacteria in plaque that can accumulate along the gum line over time. Plaque is a mixture of food, saliva and bacteria. Early symptoms include gum bleeding without pain. If you experience pain, this is a symptom of an advanced type of gum disease called periodontitis, which includes loss of bone around the teeth that lead to gum pockets, causing infection, swelling, pain, and further bone destruction.

Fungal Infections Associated with Diabetes
Diabetes compromises your immune system, causing you to be more prone to fungal infections. Symptoms include painful sores and difficulty swallowing.

Dental patients with diabetes need specialized care, so be sure to mention your condition to us when we complete your dental examination. If you are having extensive oral surgery, we may prescribe antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection. For patients with diabetes, healing may take a while longer. It’s important before and after the dental surgery to keep your blood glucose levels under control in order to prevent further issues.

We may recommend frequent dental appointments that include teeth cleaning and overall evaluation to help you maintain optimum oral health with your diabetes. Call us to schedule an appointment today at (239) 936-0597!

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