Diabetes and Dental Health: Tips For A Healthy Mouth
According to the American Diabetes Association it is estimated that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and that 1.9 million new cases are diagnosed each year.
Oral problems associated with diabetes include gum disease, thrush (an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth) and dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities.
Research shows an increased prevalence of gum disease among those who have diabetes. Diabetes lowers the body’s resistance to infection and reduces its ability to fight bacteria so plaque begins to build up on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed with regular brushing and flossing, it will harden under the gum line leading to inflammation and infection.
Oral Care Tips for Diabetics:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste being sure to remove plaque from the tooth surfaces.
- Clean between teeth using dental floss at least once a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
- Use Antimicrobial mouth rinses to stop bacterial activity in dental plaque which can cause gingivitis.
- If you wear dentures, remove them and clean them daily.
- Postpone non-emergency dental care procedures if your blood sugar is not under control. However, acute infections such as abscesses should be treated.
- Manage your blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar level, the higher the risk of complications.
If you have diabetes keep the dentist and dental hygienist informed of any health changes and any medication you are taking.