The Link Between Diabetes And Oral Health Care
Diabetes and Oral Care
Oral health care is an aspect of health that is rarely given a serious attention to. There are a lot of people who do not really understand its connection to other health problems. Knowing the facts about common diseases like diabetes linked to oral health is a good prevention of other health risks.
What are the risks of a diabetic patient regarding oral health?
Diabetic patients have a high risk for dental problems. They are more prone to infections such as gum disease and infection of the salivary glands due to impairment of the white blood cells. Furthermore, healing of the gums and the tissues of the mouth is a problem when you have diabetes. These risks should be avoided by a regular visit to your family dentist and a good oral hygiene regimen.
Here are other conditions a diabetic patient may experience:
- Dry mouth. This condition is characterized by very low production of the saliva. As you will notice, saliva is needed when you speak, eat and even, breathe. The skin lining of the mouth is cracked if there is not enough moisture. This leads to wounds which are hard to heal because of the diabetic condition. Saliva also has a very important role in reducing the development of cavities. People with dry mouth have an increased chance of tooth decay.
- Gum disease or gingivitis (aka periodontitis). This is one of the first indications of diabetes. The condition deteriorates the surrounding bone structure which then leads to loss of teeth.
- Swollen or inflamed gums. The blood vessels of a diabetic patient thickens which with slow down the blood flow and in return not distribute the proper amounts of nutrients needed for the body as well as the tissues of the mouth. This causes them to be more prone to infections as well. When you have infection of the gums, this leaves the gums feeling tender and swollen. Proper knowledge about the dental care of diabetics is needed.
- Slow healing process. When a person is diabetic, any wound is hard to heal. The mouth is no exception. Also after a dental procedure the healing is slow as well.
- Oral thrush. High sugar content in the saliva encourages the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. With a weak immune system, oral thrush can easily occur. Good dental habits must be exercised to keep the mouth in its healthiest condition as possible.
What to include in your oral habits if you have diabetes
Since diabetes is a serious disease, you have to be extra careful if you have acquired of this health problem. Remember that diabetes requires a lot of self-control and discipline on the patient’s part.
Here is what you can do to have a healthy mouth:
- Keep the plaque from building up by brushing after every meal.
- Never skip flossing. There are plaques in between teeth that are not reached by brushing alone and this will increase your risk of gum disease.
- Use non-alcohol mouth rinse. The rinse will reduce the bacterial infections as it helps protect the linings of the mouth from bacterial attacks. Make sure it does not contain alcohol in it because that will only cause more of a dry mouth than a diabetic person already has.
- Have a regular dental cleaning with your dentist at least twice a year, sometimes even more if needed. This will prevent accumulation of plaque and bacteria that can easily attack the mouth especially the gums and the teeth.
- If you are wearing dentures, regularly clean it. It is recommended to clean your dentures after every meal so not to create a place for bacteria to proliferate.
- Monitor your blood sugar levels. Since the primary factor of oral problems in diabetics is the blood sugar, keep it in check and limit eating sweets and carbohydrates. Also, improve your cholesterol and blood pressure level.
Diabetics need greater oral care in order to prevent serious oral, dental and overall health problems . You have to be more discipline than ever in keeping an excellent oral care to prevent serious problems by following the above regimen. Also remember that it has been proven that if you have diabetes and you don’t maintain a good oral care, the infections in the mouth like gum disease will cause you to have uncontrolled diabetes.
If you have diabetes and are in need of a good dentist that understands the link between diabetes and oral health and will help you to maintain and prevent the serious complications that arise from it, then call St James Dental Group at 323-771-7254 for an appointment. You will be happy to know that we care.
By: Ladan Zinati