Americans are developing diabetes at an alarming rate, with as many as 100 million people living with diabetes and prediabetes today. This means that it’s even more important today than it was yesterday to ensure your oral health is maintained. After all, good oral health can help control blood glucose levels.
How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
A diabetic’s body is unable to process glucose correctly, which creates a situation where the blood has too much sugar for the brain and other tissues to tolerate. This high blood glucose level can cause lots of complications throughout the body, including:
- Nerve damage (known as neuropathy)
- Organ damage (of virtually any organ)
- Problems with vision
- Digestive paralysis (gastroparesis)
The same processes do major damage inside your mouth. Because high blood glucose makes you more susceptible to infection from all sorts of microbes, you are likely to experience a variety of infections in your mouth, one of the easiest points of entry and a place that many types of bacteria already call home.
These infections, in turn, can make it hard to control blood sugar levels. Then those high blood glucose levels feed the bacteria and fungal agents even more, which lets them grow explosively.
Some Common Oral Issues for Diabetics
If you’re diabetic, you probably already know to watch your body for any new or unusual symptoms. But just in case you need some reminders, these are a few of the more common issues you may encounter. Don’t hesitate to call your dentist for a checkup if you notice signs of:
- Sores and ulcers. Dry mouth caused by a lack of saliva can result in some pretty serious damage inside your mouth. Sores, ulcers and inflammation are not uncommon. Remember to sip water throughout the day to keep your oral tissues moist, maintain good blood glucose levels and brush and floss often.
- Tooth decay. Dry mouth can also result in tooth decay, a very unpleasant condition. Though a dentist can help by replacing those damaged teeth, it’s better to try to avoid tooth decay for as long as you can. Check your medications to see if any list dry mouth as a side effect and if so, talk to your doctor and dentist about this. Together, they can help you find a solution that works to maintain your oral health and keep your diabetes in check.
- Gum disease. High blood sugars encourage feeding by oral bacteria, which then produce extra plaque. Acidic plaque will dissolve teeth over time, and the growing bacterial population can cause gum inflammation as they work their way into the small pockets around the base of your teeth. Good blood sugar control can help keep the beasts at bay.
Oral Care for Diabetics
Diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a special oral regimen. It does, however, mean you should at least perform a minimal daily oral care routine. Be sure to:
- Brush your teeth twice daily
- Floss once a day
- Check your mouth for sores or white patches that might indicate thrush
- Use prescription mouthwash as required
- Don’t forget your diabetes meds
Call Us Today for Your Best Diabetes Oral Care
Because there’s no better time to reduce your risk of oral complications of diabetes, we’ve made it easy for you to book an appointment. Simply click here to email Maple Leaf Dental and request your spot. Or give the office a call at (281) 497-5558. We’re here to help with even the most challenging of oral conditions.