A collection of metabolic diseases, diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus means the patient has high blood sugar levels, a condition that occurs when the body doesn't produce sufficient insulin. Or it may be that the cells are not responsive to the insulin that the body does actually produce:
How Dental Care Can Be Affected By Diabetes
Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes can be more prone to developing dental health problems than those who don't have the illness. There is an increased risk of periodontal disease among diabetes patients, in part because the condition makes the body less able to fight infection. Diabetes patients are also more prone to suffering both bacterial and fungal infections of the mouth.
Moreover, it takes longer for these infections to subside in those who have diabetes. It is not unusual for diabetics to suffer from thrush – a common type of fungal infection also known as oral candidiasis. Symptoms of this infection include white and red spots around the tongue and mouth.
These spots can develop into itchy, painful ulcers, causing the patient an uncomfortable burning sensation and making it difficult for them to swallow. Patients suffering from diabetes can also experience dry mouth, which allows cavity-causing bacteria to grow quickly and decay the teeth.
Five Tips for Helping Diabetes Patients Cope with These Symptoms
- Ensure your dental hygiene routine is as good as it can be. This means flossing at least once a day with standard floss or a flosser. Brush gently twice a day at least using a brush with soft bristles or an electric brush and fluoride toothpaste. Chewing some sugar-free gum is also helpful because it increases saliva flow and keeps acid levels to a minimum. Avoid sugary drinks but drink plenty water.
- Keep your blood glucose levels under control. This will reduce the possibility of infection and protect both your oral and general health. Consult your dentist straightaway if you develop an oral infection because they will be able to prescribe an antibacterial or anti-fungal medicine to combat the infection.
- Make regular visits (every six months) to your dentist for oral examinations and to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Let your dentist know you are diabetic and describe any medication you are taking.
- Take care of your dentures. Denture wearers are more susceptible to thrush, so dentures should be taken out and cleaned every day.
- Don't use tobacco products. While smoking is bad for everyone's health, it is particularly important that diabetes patients do not smoke.
Coping with and managing any type of diabetes is a long-term commitment that includes looking after your teeth and mouth. However, you will reap the rewards when your teeth and gums are healthy for life. To learn more or ask quesitons, contact a company like Family & Cosmetic Dentistry with any problems or questions you have.