Oral Health Problems and Diabetes
Why Are Oral Health Problems and Diabetes related? What is the connection between oral health and diabetes? It’s important to know that diabetes affects your oral health. Not controlling your blood sugar levels will give you problems with your mouth in many ways. There has been research done showing that there has been an increased occurrences of gum disease among people who have diabetes.
This is just another negative factor when it comes to diabetes. It is part of the list of strokes, heart disease, and kidney disease just to name a few. But it works both ways too. Gum disease actually will affect diabetes as well. Serious gum disease has the potential to contribute further the progression of diabetes and affect your blood glucose control.
Now there has been studies done that point to people with diabetes having a much higher risk for an early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis or a more serious gum diseases known as periodontitis. The reason for this is that diabetics are more prone to to bacterial infections and this results in a lesser ability in fighting bacteria that can attack your gums.
One huge reason for for the likelihood of developing serious gum disease and eventually tooth loss than a person who doesn’t have diabetes is because your blood sugar levels are not properly controlled. Serious gum disease is just like any other infection in that it can be a main reason in your blood sugars increasing and this results in it being more difficult in controlling your diabetes.
Years ago I had periodontal disease and had to have implants out in and let me tell you that it is a long drawn out process and very expensive as well. And for me it was worse because I am a gagger and I need nitrous oxide even for cleanings! Pain and discomfort is no fun anywhere in your body but I have to say that the mouth can be one of the worst places and especially because you have to talk and eat all the time. I’m sure that you’ve gone through it at one time or another.
There are additional issues that can be connected to diabetes and your mouth. You can experience dry mouth which can cause ulcers, cavities, infections, and soreness and thrush which is a fungus that grows in your mouth. That’s why it’s so important to control your diabetes and blood sugars and take really good care of your mouth simultaneously. A decent amount of effort can go a long way. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
What Diabetes Does to Your Mouth and Gum Disease
One thing I never realized with diabetes is how dry it makes your mouth and this isn’t good at all. There are numerous things than can occur if you leave your diabetes untreated:
- The #1 thing is that you will produce less saliva and this causes your mouth to feel dry. There are also particular medications that can cause dry mouth as well.
- Possibility of being susceptible to infections in your mouth.
- You will be at a higher risk of having cavities with less saliva because it’s the saliva that helps in protecting your teeth.
- There’s a delay in your wounds with healing.
- You may have issues with not being able to taste food.
- Your gums will bleed often and become inflamed.
Bacteria are all over the place. The most common place? Inside your mouth. There are billions of bacteria taking up residence there all the time. This is where the bacteria plant themselves in your gums and wreak havoc by causing periodontal disease. This destroys your gums and all the tissues that hold your teeth in and will even do a number on your bones as well. Your oral health is extremely important! Baking soda can really help!
The most common disease when it comes to dental that affects people with diabetes is periodontal disease. This can affect more than 20% of people who are diagnosed. And as you age, your risk for gum issues increases in you don’t have control over your blood sugar levels. If you’re careful with infections then they will cause your blood sugars to skyrocket.
I try to take care of my mouth when it comes to oral hygeine because diabetes makes it more difficult to control your gum disease and because you are less able to combat the bacteria that makes you more prone to infections. So you must take care of your mouth!
Let’s Talk About Prevention
The best way to avoid anything bad in life is to try and prevent it if possible. Let’s face the truth, diabetes and gum disease are both preventable. So the first thing that is most important as I mentioned is to eat healthy, exercise, and keep your blood sugar levels in check. Between medications, eating healthy, exercising, and checking in with regular doctor visits, you’re covering your bases here.
Taking care of your teeth is super important. Regular brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist are what you need to do in keeping your mouth healthy and disease free. Keep an eye out for any dryness or bleeding gums or white patches on your tongue.
Another important thing to be aware of is if you’re going to have a dental procedure done and your blood sugar levels are not what they should be, then postpone the procedure until they are on the normal range again. Otherwise your risk for infection after the procedure is higher if your levels are too high. Get those numbers down first before your dentist continues.
Now it’s Treatment Time
The conditions and how serious they are for your oral health related to the diabetes will determine which treatment is best for you. If you have periodontal disease, then your dentist can treat you with scaling and root planning which is a rather deep cleaning method that is where the dentist will remove the tarter from below and above your gum line.
I have had this done and my dentist always prescribes antibiotics afterward. It’s really a necessity and an excellent idea for prevention of infection. A few days to a week of taking them is usually sufficient. Sometimes in rare cases in your periodontal disease is more progressed, then you would require gum surgery for the prevention of tooth loss.
You can maintain healthy gums and healthy teeth with a combination of paying strict attention to your oral health and the controlling of your diabetes. Making regular scheduled appointments with your dentist and letting him or her know about your diabetes, any symptoms you be going through and any medications that your doctor may have prescribed for you is a big help when trying to control the dental effects of your diabetes.
Why is an early detection so vital when it comes to diabetes? It’s because it can lead to other complications including nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and possibly death. Diabetes is a definite risk factor when it comes to oral health because it can help to develop gum disease, tooth decay and loss and many additional oral health problems.
Tips for Keeping Your Mouth Ultra Clean
It’s obviously important to take care of your mouth and your teeth especially as you get older. Diabetes only adds to your oral health problems so doing the best you can for controlling your blood sugars is vital as well. Brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist on a regular basis are the best things you can do for the health of your mouth.
Your mouth is important for more than just eating. You also use it to smile, speak and more. Not having good oral health can affect every use of your mouth so spending a bit of valuable time is well worth the effort you put in to get a healthy mouth out of it. It helps your diabetes as well.
- Brush at least twice a day using a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Floss your teeth a minimum of once a day. ( I floss twice a day. Once in the morning and again at bedtime) In between won’t hurt either.
- Do not smoke. Don’t chew tobacco either. These both stain your teeth, give you bad breath, and even cause cancer.
- Check with your physician with any medications you’re taking because some can cause dry mouth or damage your teeth.
- Check inside your mouth on a regular basis for any gums that may be irritated, sores, or anything else that is unusual.
- Visit the dentist every six months.
Healthy Teeth Come From Eating Healthy
Why is a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables with fiber good for you? According to any dental hygienist it’s because you need more saliva for healthy teeth and high fiber scrubs your teeth to produce more saliva. Celery, carrots, and broccoli work as natural abrasives and are much healthier than foods with high sugar content.
* Water- Drinking plenty of water is so vital for your health and has no sugar and no calories. Any sports drinks, soft drinks and flavored sodas are high in sugar and just no good for you. This leads to cavities. Stay away from sugar totally!
* Vitamin D- You need calcium for your bones and vitamin D from the sun helps to accomplish this. It helps in promoting the health of your tooth enamel.
* Color- Vegetables with rich colors have more antioxidants which can help you fight cellular damage. Foods rich in anti-inflammatory help fight inflammation in your gums and in fact in your whole body.
* Green tea- Green tea contains very powerful antioxidants called catechins that are known to fight gum disease.
* Apples- Any vegetables and fruits that are crunchy that you can bite into such as peppers, celery, carrots, and apples help to remove plaque from your teeth.
The bottom line here is that oral health problems and diabetes have a connection and it’s important to keep your diabetes under control for the sake of your mouth, gums, and teeth, but also for the rest of your body. It’s also vital to keep your oral health in good working shape so that it doesn’t affect your diabetes and the other parts of your body too.
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If you have any questions or comments leave them below and thank you for reading and passing this on to others! Have a happy and a healthy!