If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you probably work closely with your primary doctor as well as a variety of specialists to manage the effects of the disease. Since diabetes affects the entire body, including your mouth and gums, you should also make your dentist a part of your diabetes care team.
How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health:
The impact of diabetes on your oral health depends largely on how well you control your blood sugar levels.
• Individuals with diabetes are more likely to have delayed healing and infections following certain dental procedures.
• Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can decrease the flow of saliva to the mouth, which can cause xerostomia or “dry mouth.” Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also put you at increased risk for cavities since the primary role of saliva is to wash away food particles and sugars from the teeth that feed decay-causing bacteria.
• Individuals with elevated blood sugar levels are more likely to develop candidiasis or thrush infections of the mouth.
• Uncontrolled blood sugar impairs the body’s ability to fight infections that can lead to periodontal disease. In turn, periodontal disease can make it even more difficult to control your diabetes.
What You Can Do:
The first step in protecting your teeth and gums from the effects of diabetes is to practice good oral hygiene at home. You should brush at least twice daily and floss daily to reduce the risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. If you experience dry mouth, talk to your dentist about oral rinses to moisturize your mouth. In certain cases, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments or rinses to help prevent decay. Depending on your circumstances, your dentist may even recommend more frequent check-ups and cleanings to keep your teeth and gums in top shape.
You should also keep your dentist informed of any changes in your condition or treatment regimen.
From preventative cleanings and emergency dentistry to root canals and veneers, Mesa Dental can help you and your family enjoy better oral health and a more beautiful smile. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.