When you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of a few dental problems. Go through this blog to understand the most common diabetes dental problems and how to deal with them.
Dental Problems During Diabetes
- Tooth Decay (Cavities)- Your mouth naturally contains several types of bacteria. When starches and sugars interact with these bacteria, plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the tooth surface (enamel and dentin). This may lead to cavities and gum disease.
- Gum Disease (Gingivitis)- Diabetes reduces your ability to defend yourself from harmful bacteria. If you don’t remove plaque by brushing and flossing, it will harden beneath your gumline and turn into a substance called tartar. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they will irritate the part of your gums around the base of your teeth. This is known as gingivitis.
- Advanced Gum Disease (Periodontitis)- If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more severe infection known as periodontitis, which destroys the entire soft tissue and bone which support your teeth. In some time, periodontitis causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which causes your teeth to loosen and there is also a possibility that they may fall out entirely.
- Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)- Some people with diabetes also experience a lesser amount of saliva, this is a condition known as dry mouth. Without saliva, you can be at risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and thrush.
Dental Care During Diabetes
If you want to prevent damage to your teeth and gums while being diabetic, then first of all, you should take diabetes and your dental care seriously. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
- Make a commitment to manage your diabetes. Regularly monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor’s advice for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugars, the lesser are the chances for you to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. This is quite important when you are diabetic. You need to brush in the morning, at night and, also after meals and snacks. For this, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that containing fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, as that might irritate your gums. You can also use an electric toothbrush, especially in case you have arthritis or other problems which make it difficult to brush well. Get a new toothbrush every three months.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps to remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. You can also use an anti-bacterial mouth wash for the same.
- Schedule regular dental visits. Visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings, and check-ups.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of diabetes complications, this includes gum disease and ultimately, complete loss of your teeth. If you smoke, then ask your doctor about the options which will help you quit.
Managing diabetes not easy. It is a lifelong task that also requires proper dental care. Your efforts can be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So try to apply the dental care tips mentioned here to keep smiling always!
Also, if you are worried about how you will be able to manage these dental problems during diabetes, then visit Stephen’s General Dentistry for a consultation. We’ll tell why, where and how of dental problems and will help you deal with them.