Diabetes has a knock-on effect on many aspects of your overall heath, and your oral health is one you can’t afford to overlook. Make your dentist part of your diabetes-management team. Here’s why.
You Have Dry Mouth
A dry mouth is one of the symptoms of diabetes. But there’s more to it than just feeling thirsty. Saliva bathes the teeth, neutralizing tooth decay acids and helping to restore your teeth through minerals in the saliva itself.
When you have the typical dry mouth associated with diabetes your primary line of defence against tooth decay is compromised. That means you have to be extra careful about tooth decay. More than other people, you need to maintain a good oral hygiene routine, and you need to visit your dentist often to ensure that tooth decay is treated early.
You’re More Prone to Gum Disease
Along with a heightened risk of tooth decay, you also experience a greater chance of developing gum disease when you have diabetes.
The reasons are the same. Your ability to fight off bacterial incursions is compromised, and if they’re not attacking teeth, the microbes associated with tooth decay are attacking gums.
This could have a greater impact on your overall health than you may have imagined. Gum disease is associated with premature births and an increased likelihood of stroke or heart disease.
A Healthy Mouth Helps You Manage Your Diabetes Better
Gingivitis is a relatively mild infection that is easily treated. But researchers have determined that it could play a role in how effectively you can manage your blood sugar levels.
Researchers have discovered a feedback loop between gingivitis and diabetes. The less well you manage your diabetes, the more prone you are to gum disease. And gum disease left untreated makes it more difficult to manage diabetes. Break the cycle by taking good care of your teeth and visiting your dentist for regular examinations.
But why does this happen? So far, we know that people with poorly managed diabetes have higher levels of glucose in their saliva. So, instead of protecting your teeth and gums, your saliva actually contributes to poor oral health.
From this, it may sound like a one-way street. But experts say that if your gums are healthy, you are also likely to find it easier to control your diabetes – so it’s a two-way street after all.
If you Already Wear Dentures, Your Dentist Becomes Even More Important
People who already wear dentures can still benefit from a dentist’s treatment. As a person living with diabetes, you’re more prone to sores from wearing dentures. Once again, your dentist steps on as part of your healthcare team. Dentists don’t just care for teeth. They look after gums too.
Tell Your Dentist About your Diabetes
When you first visit our surgery, we will check on your medical history. If your diabetes is diagnosed subsequent to that, be sure to tell us about your condition. You will need to be more particular about regular oral examinations than most people, and we’ll be better able to understand your situation and be alert to the oral health problems that go hand-in-hand with diabetes.