Diabetes and your teeth may not seem to be linked, but having diabetes can boost your risk for oral health problems. The good news: A little extra attention will help keep you healthy! Here’s what to watch for.
Oral health problems associated with having diabetes include:
Having diabetes can make you less able to fight off infection. Including gum infections, that can lead to serious gum disease. In its early stages, gum disease is known as “gingivitis”. That’s when gums are swollen, soft, and may bleed, particularly during brushing or flossing.
If gum disease progresses, however, the gums can begin to detach from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and gums that can trap bacteria and boost the risk of infections. Untreated, the infections can destroy the underlying bones that hold the teeth in place.
Surgery may be needed. In one procedure called pocket depth reduction, the dentist folds back the gum tissue, removes the bacteria, and then secures the tissue into place so that it fits more tightly around the teeth, sometimes cutting away some of the unattached gum.
Slower Healing after Dental Surgery
With diabetes, you’re likely to heal more slowly after oral surgery. We’ll prescribe antibiotics to keep any infection after surgery at bay. Pay close attention to and control your blood sugar levels before and after oral surgery.
If you have diabetes, you may also be at risk for fungal infections in the mouth, called oral candidiasis or “thrush”. This can happen even if you wear dentures. We can prescribe a prescription rinse that will help clear up this infection.
Dry mouth, called xerostomia, is another common problem among people with diabetes. Saliva is important to your oral health–it helps wash away food particles and keeps the mouth moist.
When you don’t have enough saliva, bacteria can thrive, tissues can get irritated and inflamed, and your teeth are more prone to decay.
Keeping Your Mouth Healthy
Taking care of your oral hygiene at home every day is crucial. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day. Antibacterial mouth rinses can also help reduce the bacteria that cause plaque buildup on teeth and gums. Examine you mouth for inflammation or signs of bleeding gums. If you notice either, let us know right away.
Once We Know, We Can Help!
Be sure to tell us if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Also, please provide us with a list of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking. Only then can we do our best for you!