Diabetes and oral health: What do you need to know?

The World Health Organization’s recent report shows that diabetes is the primary cause of death in the world today. According to studies, people with diabetes are prone to oral infections and gum disease. Individuals who have diabetes and do not keep their blood sugar in check are likely to have more oral health problems. This is due to the decreased resistance to disease and may not restore to health as quickly. Paying attention to your dental care and oral health is necessary more especially if you have diabetes.

What is the relation between gum disease and diabetes?

Diabetes lowers the resistance of the body to infections and also decelerates the healing process. This is the reason for the severity of oral disease in people who have diabetes. When diabetes is not regulated, it harms white blood cells (leukocytes). White blood cells act as the body’s chief defense against infections. This is why gums are susceptible to gingivitis. If you have gingivitis and do not perform regular dental check-ups, you may have gum disease. This may also result in the damage of tissues adjoining and supporting the gums, teeth, fibers, and bone that hold the gums to the teeth as well as irritation.

Other problems you may suffer include mouth ulcers, compromised taste ability, burning mouth syndrome and fungal infections like oral candidiasis, and thrush. You may also develop xerostomia thus triggering an increased occurrence of decay. This is because diabetes reduces the flow of saliva and enhances salivary glucose levels.

How to prevent oral-diabetes related problems

Just like other diseases, oral-diabetes related problems can be prevented by doing the following:

  • Keep your blood glucose levels under control by exercising and making changes to your diet. This can assist you to fight any fungal and bacterial infections in your mouth and thus aiding in the alleviation of dry mouth triggered by diabetes.
  • Take care of your gums and teeth by brushing two times a day and by flossing every day.
  • Ensure you remove and clean your dentures every day.
  • If you have diabetes, make sure you inform your doctor during your visit.
  • Avoid smoking if you have diabetes because it increases your risk of developing gum disease.
  • Check your cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

When to see a dentist

If you have diabetes and are not managing your blood sugar levels, it is time to see your dentist and discuss more on dental care.

Visit your dentist during the early morning hours of the day. The reason is that at this time blood sugar levels are usually to under control. Also, ensure you regularly visit your dentist and also inform him your oral health status.

Bottom line

While it is important to maintain oral hygiene, it is also imperative to note that diabetes can harm the nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and other vital systems in the body. Children who have diabetes are likely to have their teeth erupting earlier than it is normal.