Diabetes and Dental Care go hand in hand.
When you have diabetes, there is high sugar content in your blood and you are more susceptible to developing dental and oral diseases.
If you do not control your blood usage levels, oral health problems are likely to develop in your mouth.
This happens because, high sugar content in your blood weakens white blood cells, which are your body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth.
Studies suggest that controlling blood sugar can lower your chances of developing complications of diabetes and therefore help to prevent oral and dental complications.
However, prevention is in your hands.
Controlling your diabetes not only prevents organ complications but also helps to prevent oral and dental complications which can further lead to tooth extraction.
Let us first discuss Diabetes
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar.
The hormone insulin is present in your blood which is produced by the pancreas. This hormone moves sugar from your blood to the cells.
They store it in the cells and are used for energy. However, when you are suffering from diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or is making excess insulin.
If you do not get treatment for diabetes, it can cause organ damage and even damage your oral and dental hygiene resulting in tooth decay and eventually leads to extraction.
There are two types of diabetes, Type I diabetes and Type II diabetes.
Now let us discuss the effects of diabetes on your dental care.
Diabetes and Dental Care
People with diabetes have irregular blood usage levels and have a higher risk of developing tooth problems and gum diseases.
This is due to they have low resistance to infection and may not heal as others.
If you have diabetes, then you need to pay particular attention to your oral and dental care, as well as controlling your blood sugar levels.
Moreover, visiting your dentist regularly can help to keep your mouth and gums healthy.
The first signs and symptoms of diabetes can occur in your mouth, therefore, paying attention to your oral health can lead to early diagnosis and treatment.
The most common oral and dental health problems affecting people with diabetes are as follows:
- Gum diseases
- Tooth Abscess
- Tooth decay
- Fungal Infections
- Lichen Planus
- Mouth Ulcers
- Taste Disturbances
- Dry mouth
Why People with Diabetes are more Prone to Gum Diseases?
You have bacteria in your mouth that naturally exists in it. If you do not take care of your oral and dental care, do not brush your teeth twice and floss once a day, this bacteria can accumulate on your teeth and lead to periodontal diseases.
This is an inflammatory and chronic disease that can damage your gums, all the tissues holding your teeth, and even your jawbones.
Moreover, periodontal diseases are common in people who suffer from diabetes.
According to a study, about 2% of people with diabetes suffer from this disease.
Moreover, with increasing age, poor blood sugar control increases the risk for gum problems,
Therefore, people with diabetes are more prone to gum problems because of poor blood sugar control.
As with all infections, serious gum diseases may also cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes even harder to control and you are more suspectable to infections and less able to fight the bacteria invading your gums.
Diabetes and Gingivitis
Gingivitis is an infection that can destroy the bone surrounding and supporting your teeth.
This bone holds your teeth in place and allows you to chew food comfortably. However, bacteria and debris, dental plaque can lead to gum diseases.
If you do not maintain oral and dental health, this plaque can harden and form tartar on your teeth and gum line. This can irritate your gums and tissues around it.
It can therefore lead to red, swollen, and bleeding in gums. If it progresses, it can furthermore lead to bone loss.
Because of this, your teeth can become loose and may fall out by themselves or you may need a surgical extraction.
These are more common in people with suboptimal glucose levels. This is because they have lower resistance to infection and reduced healing capacity.
Moreover, it is important to look after your oral and health care and also control your blood sugar levels to prevent gum diseases.
Symptoms of Gum Diseases
Consult your dentist immediately if you notice the following signs and symptoms of gum diseases including:
- Red, tender, swollen, or bleeding gums
- pus coming from the gums
- gums that loose and pull away from the gums
- bad taste or bad breath
- loose teeth
- spaces or openings between your teeth
Diabetes and Periodontitis
If you do not get treatment for gingivitis, can lead to more serious gum diseases, Periodontitis. It can damage your jaw bone and soft tissues that support your teeth.
Eventually, it can lead to loss of teeth and they might fall out.
It is severe among people suffering from diabetes because of the slow healing process in them. Moreover, an infection can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Preventing and treating periodontitis with regular dental cleaning can help improve blood sugar control.
Diabetes and Tooth Decay
With the increase in blood sugar levels, people with diabetes can have more glucose in their saliva and have a dry mouth.
These conditions allow the plaque to build upon your teeth and can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
You can also use dental floss or interdental cleaners to treat oral thrush. Moreover, your dentist can prescribe antifungal medications for the treatment.
Dry Mouth and Diabetes
A dry mouth happens when you do not make enough saliva. It is important for maintaining oral and dental health.
Your salivary glands in the mouth are responsible for producing saliva. However, certain medications can cause dry mouth, like antihistamines or decongestants.
If you are not controlling your diabetes, it can decrease saliva flow in your mouth and lead to a dry mouth.
It can further cause soreness, ulcers, infections and lead to tooth decay.
Oral Thrush and Diabetes
People with diabetes who take antibiotics to fight various infections are more prone to developing fungal infections in the mouth.
This fungus thrives on high glucose levels in the saliva of your mouth if you do not control diabetes.
Moreover, wearing dentures can also lead to fungal infections.
How to Prevent Oral Health Problems
As people with diabetes are more prone to conditions that might lead to oral and dental health conditions, therefore, it is important to follow good oral hygiene practices.
Pay attention to any changes in oral and dental health and consult your dentist if you observe any changes.
Certain suggestions to reduce and prevent oral and dental health problems include:
- Keeping your blood sugar level under optimal levels is important. Tell your dentist the status of your diabetes.
- If you had an episode of low blood sugar then there are increased chances of having such an episode again. Tell your dentist about it to prevent any complications during dental procedures.
- It is important to see your doctor before visiting your dentist. They can consult each other about your overall health condition if you are going to have oral surgery. Moreover, they can choose a treatment plan and antibiotics you might need post-surgery.
- Bring your dentist a complete list of medications and dosage you are taking. This helps them to prescribe medications that will not interfere with diabetes medications. Moreover, if you are getting treatment for a major infection in your mouth, you might need to adjust your insulin intake.
- In case you have blood sugar levels that are not under control, post-pone non-emergency dental procedures. However, for acute infections, like tooth abscesses, get treatment right away.
Other Oral Hygiene Tips
Other oral and dental hygiene tips are important to keep in mind to avoid complications.
It is important to keep in mind, that due to diabetes, the healing process slows down in your body, there it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions after the treatment,
Have regular check-ups with your dentist to have your teeth and gums cleaned at least twice a year.
Prevent plaque build-up by using dental floss at least once a day.
It is important to brush your teeth after every meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
If your wear dentures, it is important to clean them daily.
If you are a smoker, talk to your dentist and doctor about ways to quit smoking.
Avoid having a dry mouth, drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
The Bottom Line
Diabetes is a life-long condition and needs commitment. It also includes proper dental care and maintaining your blood sugar levels.
If you make efforts to control diabetes, it can be very much rewarding with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.