If you have diabetes, you are likely aware that the disease can harm your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body.
But were you aware it can also cause problems in your mouth? In fact, people with diabetes have a higher than normal risk of periodontal diseases and losing teeth.
As 5% of Australians suffer from diabetes, at Prevent Dental Suite we think it is important that our patients and readers understand how the disease
s are related, their effects, and how they interact.
What Is The Link Between Diabetes And Periodontal Disease?
Like other complications of diabetes, periodontal disease (a more serious form of gum disease) is linked to diabetic control. People with poor blood sugar control get gum disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than do persons with good blood sugar control.
Good blood sugar control is the best protection against periodontal disease.
How Diabetes Harms Dental Health
Blood vessel changes
Diabetes causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients and the removal of harmful wastes. This can weaken the resistance of gum and bone tissue to infection.
Many kinds of bacteria (germs) thrive on sugars, including glucose — the sugar linked to diabetes. When diabetes is poorly controlled, high glucose levels in mouth fluids may help germs grow and set the stage for gum disease.
Studies show that smoking also increases the chances of developing gum disease. In fact, smokers are five times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease. For smokers with diabetes, the risk is even greater.
What Does Science Say?
Studies show that controlling blood sugar levels lowers the risk of some complications of diabetes, such as eye and heart disease and nerve damage. Scientists believe many complications, including gum disease, can be prevented with good diabetic control.
If You Have Diabetes…
- It’s important for you to know how well your diabetes is controlled and this information with your dentist when you visit.
- Ask your doctor to talk to your dentist about your overall medical condition before treatment begins.
- You may need to change your meal schedule and the timing and dosage of your insulin if oral surgery is planned.
- Postpone non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.
- In the case of periodontal or oral surgery, healing may take more time.
Other Oral Problems Linked To Diabetes
Young people with IDDM have no more tooth decay than do non-diabetic children. In fact, because they eat less sugar, their teeth can even be healthier than non-diabetic children!
People with diabetes are at risk for thrush. Smoking and wearing dentures (especially when they are worn constantly) can also lead to fungal infection. Medication is available to treat this infection. Good diabetic control, no smoking, and removing and cleaning dentures daily can help prevent thrush.
Dry mouth is often a symptom of undetected diabetes and can cause more than just an uncomfortable feeling in your mouth. Dry mouth can cause soreness, ulcers, infections, and tooth decay.
How Can You Protect Your Teeth and Gums?
Harmful germs attack the teeth and gums when plaque builds up. You can stop plaque build-up and prevent gum disease by maintaining excellent oral hygiene.
- Use a piece of dental floss about 18 inches long.
- Using a sawing motion, gently bring the floss through the tight spaces between the teeth.
- Do not snap the floss against the gums.
- Curve the floss around each tooth and gently scrape from below the gum to the top of the tooth several times.
- Rinse your mouth after flossing.
- Gently brush teeth twice a day with a soft nylon brush with rounded ends on the bristles.
- Avoid hard back-and-forth scrubbing.
- Use small circle motions and short back-and-forth motions.
- Gently brush your tongue, which can trap germs.
People with diabetes should have dental check-ups at least every 6 months, or more often if recommended by their dentist. Be sure to tell your dentist you have diabetes. Frequent dental check-ups are needed to find problems early when treatment is most effective. See your dentist as soon as possible if you have any problem with your teeth or mouth.
Preventing or controlling gum disease depends on teamwork. The best defense against this complication of diabetes is good blood sugar control, daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental check-ups.
High-Quality Dental Care At Prevent Dental Suite
At Prevent Dental Suite, we go above and beyond to help improve the dental care of your children, family, and friends.
Your remarkable dentist’s goal at Prevent Dental Suite, is to make quality dental care affordable. We are dedicated to give you perfect oral health.