If you think that diabetes has nothing to do with brushing and flossing, then you need to think twice. Here are a few reasons why dental care matters when having to deal with diabetes and why it is important to take care of your gums and teeth.
When you suffer from diabetes, there is a high concentration of sugar in the blood affecting your entire body. Your teeth and gums are at risk, but the solution is in your hand. Now that you know what you are up against, you can take charge.
Tooth decay and gum disease
It doesn’t matter if you’re suffering from type 1 diabetes or type 2, managing your blood sugar is essential. If the sugar levels in your blood are out of control you are at risk of:
Tooth decay – In your mouth reside an unimaginable number of bacteria. This bacteria feeds on sugars and give off acids. These acids attack the enamel layer (exterior of the teeth) that protects the tooth. In time, this will lead to cavities. That is why, the higher the blood sugar, the more acid bacteria create. The more acid created, the increased risk of tooth decay.
Early gum disease – The body of a person who suffers from diabetes finds it hard to fight against bacteria. If you are not removing bacteria regularly, it will harden and become tartar. The more tartar you have, the more the gum line will be irritated and swallow. This condition is called gingivitis and is recognised by the bleeding gums and red gum tissue around the gum line.
Advanced gum disease – This condition needs immediate attention. Left untreated, gingivitis will lead to a more severe infection known as periodontitis. Periodontitis destroys the soft and hard tissue that keeps the tooth in place and supports it. In time, periodontitis will cause the jawbone and gums to pull away from your teeth. As a result, many teeth will loosen and may fall out.
What can you do?
There are three thing that you need to do.
- Manage your diabetes strictly
Monitor your blood sugar levels all the time. Also, follow the doctor’s low blood sugar instructions. The better you control the sugar level, the less likely you will suffer from tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Brush your teeth daily
Even if you manage your diabetes sugar level, you still need to take care of your teeth like every other person. You need to clean your mouth and brush your teeth daily, at least twice a day, floss and rinse with fluoridated mouthwash.
- Consult your dentist
Make sure that your dentist knows you suffer from diabetes and ask him how often you two should meet. Healthy people usually need to pay a visit to the dentist twice a year. A person suffering from diabetes should see a professional at least once every three months.