Diabetics know that they need routine health care, like check-ups and eye exams, but many might miss their regular dental checkups without knowing the negative impact on oral health.
The glucose levels encourage destructive bacteria to overcrowd the mouth. The bacteria cause plaque build-up and gum disease, or gingivitis. Anyone can develop this gum disease, but diabetics often struggle to fight off infections. Without a strong immune response, infections advance quickly. And gum disease, which starts off with red, sore and bleeding gums, leads to periodontitis, a serious infection of the gums and the bones of the mouth. Those who develop periodontitis often lose their teeth.
The relationship between gum disease and diabetes proves a two-way street -; studies suggest that advanced gum disease raises blood sugar, making diabetes harder to control. As gum disease worsens diabetes, and diabetes worsens gum disease, patients should strive to avoid the whole cycle altogether.
Some dental medicines specially for diabetics can help to fight off these bad bacteria., that adheres to the teeth and gums, leaving less room for bad bacteria to grow. In crowding out bad bacteria, these medicines naturally support tooth and gum health.
Diabetics can also avoid gum disease by controlling their blood sugar. The higher the patients’ blood glucose level, the more likely they are to develop periodontitis and other oral infections.
Everyone should schedule dentist appointments every six months, but diabetics must work closely with their dentists to develop oral health care plans. Dentists can offer diabetes-specific tooth care advice.
If patients smoke, they should talk to their dentists or doctors about quitting -; smoking drastically increases the risk of tooth and gum disease.
Diabetics should be especially careful not to neglect routine brushing and flossing. Patients should floss at least once a day and brush their teeth with a soft-bristled brush after every meal and snack. Those wearing dentures should keep them clean.