If you have diabetes, you may already be at least generally familiar with this concern, but many may not be aware that diabetes actually presents a risk for a host of dental issues. Additionally, even if you do realize this, you may not know what exactly is at stake and what can go wrong. Diabetes is a serious hindrance to your mouth’s ability to fend off those pesky bacteria that incessantly sprout their ugly faces in every nook and cranny therein. Because the sugar content in your blood is higher than it’s supposed to be, these bacteria are actually able to thrive far more efficiently than usual; moreover, this yields a greater likelihood for gum disease.
Gum Disease Indicators
If your gums bleed, boom—there you go. Mouth, meet gum disease. Perhaps they’re not actually bleeding, but if your gums are swollen, that is as much an indicator of gingivitis as anything else. For that matter, look for redness and ask yourself if you’ve been feeling any soreness in your gums. Sometimes, if your gums have been swollen for a while, it may be difficult to notice the swelling, so other signs are helpful.
If any of your permanent teeth are loose, that is a strong indicator of periodontitis run amuck, which is just gingivitis on steroids. Looseness needs to be addressed posthaste, and the same can be said of halitosis. If you have the kind of bad breath that others describe as unnatural or that even you can tell is abnormal at least, you may have gum disease. If you wear dentures, in fact, the way your dentures fit will always tell you whether or not your gums are swelling, so you’ll have an easier time determining whether or not you have gum disease.
Diabetes Treatment Quality
The quality of your treatment of diabetes will manifest in your oral health. Basically, if you’re able to keep a good handle on your blood sugar regulation, you’ll be able to experience normal oral health. Conversely, if you don’t, you run the risk of gum disease but also tooth loss, dry mouth, or fungal infections. Given that infections increase your blood sugar, too, you can get stuck in what seems like a problem that perpetuates itself. You don’t want to get caught in that cycle.
Regular Dental Office Visits
If you have diabetes, that makes it much more necessary for you to visit your dentist as regularly as possible. If you don’t know what “regular” means, it’s recommended that patients visit the dentist about twice a year. Your dentist ought to know you’re diabetic, but double-check and make sure he or she is also aware of your related medications. Regular checkups keep your mouth healthier than you can on your own, and professional cleanings go a long way in this regard.
One of the main things you’ll want to focus on is plaque. You definitely want to ensure that plaque doesn’t get a chance to stick around. It forms on and adheres to your teeth after you eat, and plaque releases acids that are harmful to the enamel. If it doesn’t get scraped away (either because you didn’t brush so well or because you didn’t brush at all), then it will gradually build up under your gum line and become seemingly impossible to obviate even with floss. Now, of course, the safety net you have in this regard is that you regularly head to the dentist’s office for professional cleanings, so you don’t have to worry about any of this.
Just remember, though, that plaque becomes more of a problem the longer you leave it. It’ll prove to be yet another way to get gum disease, which will put you on the aforementioned risk cycle. The bacteria found in plaque inflames the gums and begins the process of fostering gum disease, and with diabetes, gingivitis of any degree is a slippery slope. For more facts on diabetes and dental care read more here.