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Maintaining Oral Health In Diabetes

May 12, 2021

The goal of this blog post is to increase awareness about oral health and diabetes-associated manifestations. 

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of pancreatic function which controls blood sugar levels.

It is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia that makes the body prone to many diseases including neurological, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and even blindness. 

Another common health complication is dental problems diseases that can destroy your gums, the tissues holding your teeth and even the bones.

If it is combined with smoking, it is a serious threat to oral health.

How Can Diabetes Affect The Mouth & Oral Health 

Maintaining oral health attains supreme importance when you have a diabetic condition. It affects your 

  1. Teeth
  2. Gums
  3. Jaw & bones
  4. Soft tissues like the tongue, cheeks & palate, etc. 

Diabetes increases blood sugar and makes saliva sweeter, expanding bacterial growths, plaque and bad breath.

It also reduces the blood supply to the mouth cavity. 

That is why you are more at risk of dental disorders such as cavities, gum infections and degeneration of the bones that hold the teeth.

For people who are above 50 years of age, even more so. 

How To Maintain Oral Health In Diabetes

Most diseases can be prevented and kept in check with the following precautions:

  • Keep your blood sugar within limits.
  • Take care of oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice daily and rinsing regularly with an antiseptic mouthwash.
  • Do not brush immediately after eating to protect the tooth enamel. Wait for 30 minutes after meals.
  • Remove your dentures at night and clean them every day.   
  • Quit smoking.   
  • Stick to your dental checkup appointments every 6 months or more often if recommended by your dentist.

The Most Common Oral Problems for Diabetics

If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of having cavities because of the greater supply of carbohydrates and starches in your body contributing to plaque buildup, the root of all mouth problems.

Gingivitis

It is the most common problem that causes unhealthy, red, swollen, or bleeding gums, bad breath, and loosened gums.

It is the first stage of gum disease which can be controlled by following strict hygiene & antiseptic mouthwash.

Periodontitis

It is a stage of gingivitis when it is left untreated.

Its symptoms are teeth moving apart, change in bite, bleeding inflamed gums and sometimes pus between teeth.

Treatment is done by scaling & deep cleaning, medicines and surgery in severe cases.

Also Read: Is Sugar Bad for Your Oral Health?

Thrush

It is also called candidiasis is a type of fungus, very common in people with diabetes.

Its symptoms are sores, white, or sometimes red patches on the gums, tongue, cheeks, or the roof of your mouth.

Treatment includes medicines, professional deep cleaning and cleaning/dipping dentures in antifungal solution. 

Dry Mouth or Xerostomia

Dry mouth is a condition of salivary dysfunction wherein there is a scarcity of saliva in the mouth or a dehydrated mouth that increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease. 

The signs are continuous dry feeling in the mouth, dry tongue, cracked lips, sores and difficulty in chewing, biting, swallowing and talking. 

Treatment involves medicines to keep the mouth wet, chloride rinses, sugarless gum to boost saliva secretion, drinking water and avoiding smoking, beverages and spicy foods.

Dental Caries

Diabetic patients are prone to recurring dental caries. There are many reasons for this, such as:-

Reduced cleaning and buffering capacity of the saliva.

Increase of glucose in the saliva.

High level of oral yeasts like mutants streptococci & lactobacilli.

Pulpitis leads to pulp necrosis.

Oral Burning

This is an oral condition in diabetics that causes a burning sensation in the mouth, or dryness, or even numbness.

You would find food tasteless even. It may also occur due to hypertension medicines or advancing age.

Treatment could include changing the sugar or BP medicine and controlling blood sugar. 

When to Contact Your Doctor

If you are diabetic, you must contact your doctor at Kirkland Premier Dentistry if you have the following symptoms before things become serious:-

Bleeding or sore gums.

Frequent infections.

Persistent bad breath.

Conclusion

Diabetes can cause various complications in many organs of the body, including the oral cavity.

The commonest complications related to diabetes include xerostomia, dental caries, gingivitis, periodontal disease, recurring mouth infections, thrush, burning mouth, and poor wound healing.

At Kirkland Premier Dentistry Dr. Gaurav Sharma has 400+ hours of Continuing education from the prestigious AAID (American Academy of Implant Dentistry)

He applies for the latest research & advances in dentistry to provide the best dental care to patients.

Dental diseases in diabetic patients can result in severities and can affect patients’ quality of life as well. 

Chronic issues in these diabetics put blood glucose levels out of control. This is why prevention and management of oral health in Diabetes patients are vital.

Controlling diabetes goes a long way in protecting your teeth and gums. And that, in turn, will also help you manage your diabetes.

For any kind of dental emergency, feel free to contact us online or call the office.

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