Diabetes is a common disease. In fact, about 9.3 percent of the US has this condition. Diabetes, however, doesn’t just affect your body’s ability to produce insulin. It affects many other parts of the body, particularly because it affects how well your body fights infection. One part of your body that is susceptible to diabetes is your mouth. If you have diabetes, learn about oral health for diabetics.
Oral Symptoms of Uncontrolled Diabetes
Uncontrolled diabetes can affect many parts of your body, and your mouth is no exception. If you suspect you may be developing diabetes, or if you just want to know how your diabetes can affect your mouth, you must know the oral symptoms of diabetes. One of the biggest problems is that your mouth may have less saliva. This causes dry mouth, which isn’t just uncomfortable. Due to the fact that your body doesn’t have enough saliva to wash away bacteria, your teeth are more prone to decay.
Because diabetes makes it harder to fight infection, infections of the mouth are also possible. Gum disease and tooth infections can occur, and your body has a hard time fighting these off. If you develop a wound in your mouth, diabetes can slow healing time.
What’s the Big Deal With Inflamed Gums?
Minor gum inflammation can be a mild annoyance, but if left untreated, it can cause major dental problems. First, your gums become sore, inflamed and bleeding. Eventually, your gums start to recede, exposing the roots of your teeth and increasing the risk of decay. As the disease progresses, it may affect your jawbone, causing it to diminish, which increases the risk of tooth loss.
Gum disease is also bad for your diabetes. An uncontrolled infection makes it harder for you to control your blood sugar, which puts you in danger and increases your chance of other diabetes complications. On top of that, studies have shown that gum disease can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Protecting yourself from the problems associated with diabetes is a twofold attack.
1.) Make sure you continue to care for your smile with good at-home care. You’ll also want to ensure you see your dentist regularly, and divulge that you have diabetes. Your dentist will help keep your mouth clean, which in turn reduces the risk of inflammation. Your dentist can also help look for gum disease before it happens. If you do develop gum disease, it can actually have a negative affect on blood sugar control.
2.) Follow your medical doctor’s instructions. Keep your blood sugar at the right levels and use your medications appropriately. When your diabetes is under control, your body fights infections better, reducing the risk of gum disease. Make sure you also avoid smoking. Smoking decreases your body’s ability to fight infection.
Everyone should take good care of their teeth, but if you are a diabetic, poor dental health can actually affect your diabetes. If you would like more information regarding oral health for diabetics, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Landmark Dental Group in Santa Cruz today. We’ll help you take control of your diabetes and your oral health.