While many people are born with diabetes, others develop it later in life. Diabetes is a chronic illness that stems from the body’s inability to produce or utilize insulin, a substance that helps turn sugars in food into fuel.
In the wake of a diabetes diagnosis, people often have many questions. What many don’t suspect is that dental health is important in diabetes. Likewise, a Santa Cruz dentist is a key member of your diabetes wellness team.
The Unexpected Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health
Although most people think about blood sugar and liver health when they hear “diabetes,” it actually has a number of effects all throughout the body. Many of these can be controlled using proactive approaches to optimal health – but others remain as ongoing concerns.
One of them is dental health.
People with diabetes have a tendency to have impaired blood circulation in the extremities. One drawback of this condition is that it takes longer for many superficial wounds to heal. When you are injured, blood flow should naturally increase in the damaged area to support recovery.
For those with diabetes, healing takes place, but not usually as quickly as a typical non-sufferer.
That being the case, those with diabetes need to be careful to avoid situations where they might risk superficial wounds to the extremities. Special shoes have been designed to protect the feet, for example – and they should also be cautious about dental health.
With diabetes, the minor abrasions from brushing too hard can take a long time to heal.
In a more serious situation, gingivitis – a mild inflammation of the gums – can progress more easily into full-blown gum disease because it is more difficult for the periodontal tissue to carry a rich blood supply to the teeth. Gums can recede and teeth may fall out.
Your Santa Cruz Dentist Can Support Robust Health For Diabetes Sufferers
With all this in mind, it’s important to set regular appointments with your Santa Cruz dentist.
Your dentist can help you maintain your teeth and keep an eye out for problems that might otherwise go unnoticed, including cavities and infections. The sooner treatment begins, the more likely it is that problems will be resolved quickly.
To keep your teeth and gums healthy with diabetes, always remember:
- Infections and other complications are less likely in those who do not smoke;
- Controlling your glucose levels is essential to protecting your teeth and gums;
- You should strive to brush teeth at least twice and floss at least once every day;
- If dentures are used, remember to remove them at night and clean them daily.
While the average adult might plan to see the dentist only once a year, it’s best to schedule at least two visits a year – once every six months. That’s true both for people who have chronic conditions that affect dental health and for elders over age 55.
Landmark Dental Group can protect your smile even through diabetes.
To find out more, contact us today.