Is there a connection between brushing or flossing and diabetes? Plenty. Here’s why dental care is important for diabetics – and how to get it right. 

High blood sugar is the link between diabetes and dental health issues. Oral health concerns are more likely to develop if blood sugar is not effectively managed. This is because uncontrolled diabetes reduces white blood cells, the body’s principal defense against bacterial infections in the mouth. 

If you have diabetes, you must pay special attention to your oral health and maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range. Because the first signs and symptoms of diabetes can appear in the mouth, paying attention to your oral health and communicating it with your dentist can lead to an earlier diagnosis and treatment. 

What are the oral health issues tied to diabetes? 

Diabetes patients are at an increased risk of: 

Dry mouth: Diabetes, if left untreated, can reduce saliva (spit) flow, resulting in a dry mouth. Soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth damage can all result from dry mouth. 

Cavities: Many different types of bacteria live in your mouth. The higher your blood sugar level, the more carbohydrates, and starches are available to increase these bacteria. This can result in cavities. 

Gum Disease (gingivitis) & (periodontitis): In addition to decreasing white blood cells, diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken. This delays the flow of nutrients from tissues throughout the body, including the mouth. When this occurs, the body’s ability to fight infections is compromised. Because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, patients with uncontrolled diabetes may have more frequent and severe gum disease. 

Poor tissue healing: People with unbalanced diabetes heal slowly following oral surgery or other dental procedures, as the blood flow to the treatment area can be disrupted. 

Thrush: Diabetics who routinely take antibiotics to treat various diseases are more likely to develop a fungal infection in the mouth and tongue. The fungus develops on the high glucose levels in diabetes patients’ saliva. Thrush can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and tongue. 

Taking care of your teeth and gums 

If you have diabetes, it is highly suggested that you: 

  • Follow your doctor’s diet and medication to keep your blood glucose levels as near to target as feasible. 
  • Brush your teeth and gums twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Once a day, clean between your teeth with dental floss or interdental cleaners. 
  • Visit the dentist every 6 to 12 months to examine your mouth, teeth, and gums for symptoms of oral diseases and professionally clean your teeth. Inform your dentist about your blood glucose levels and any drugs you are currently taking. 
  • Drink a lot of water and chew sugar-free gum often to increase saliva flow and avoid dry mouth. 
  • Don’t smoke; instead, consult your dentist for help quitting. 

Optimal dental care is a lifelong commitment to managing diabetes. You will receive a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums as a reward for your efforts. Book an appointment with our experts at Bravo! Dental for further oral health advice and treatment. 

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