Living with Diabetes: Teeth and Gum Problems to be Aware of

One of the most common sedentary lifestyle diseases affecting very many Americans today is diabetes. When discussing the side effects of diabetes, a lot people often concentrate on the sugar related implications and oversee a very important problem associated with diabetes- dental disease. Unknown to many, diabetes puts patients at a very high risk of getting dental problems. The sugar related problems extend every part of the body and teeth are not an exception. If you are suffering from diabetes therefore, you should be weary of teeth and gum problems. Here are some of the most common teeth and gum problems associated with diabetes and how you can stay clear of the said problems;

Gum diseases

One of the most common problems associated with diabetes is the gum disease. Gum disease takes two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is less serious, but can develop into periodontitis if left untreated for a very long period of time. In addition to cutting off blood to the gums, diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, putting the gums at risk for gingivitis, an inflammation caused by the bacteria in the form of plaque. The main symptoms of gingivitis are red, swollen, and bleeding gums. It is important to contact your dentist as soon as these symptoms develop so the problem can be addressed.

Untreated gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which affects the tissue and bones that support your teeth. Periodontal disease is a more serious infection and healing will take a lot of time.Periodontal disease is characterized with redness of the gums, soreness of the gum area and sometimes bad breath. If the complication is not addressed on time it eventually causes your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth. This in turn causes your teeth to loosen and can even fall out with time.

The other reason why diabetes is associated with a lot of dental problems is because it reduces your mouth’s ability to produce sufficient saliva. Lack of sufficient saliva production in the mouth makes your teeth susceptible to decay and can also contribute to gum diseases. This is because Saliva helps wash away food remnants and tartar from teeth. If there is no sufficient saliva in the mouth therefore, the chances of the tartar building up are high and this will increase the likelihood of dental problems developing. Problems such as dental cavities arise from accumulation of plaque and tartar in the mouth and if they are not addressed on time, they can have far reaching consequences. It is relatively easy to know when your body is not producing enough saliva. Some of the most common symptoms accompanying dry mouth include a dry tongue and dry, cracked lips. It can also lead to difficulty chewing, swallowing, or even talking.

Now that we have seen the effects of diabetes to teeth and gums, what are some of the best ways to stay clear of the problems associated with diabetes? Dental care and diabetes care must be practiced in tandem to effectively combat issues like gum disease and dry mouth. Here are some of the oral care for diabetes to help patients to stay clear of the dental problems associated with diabetes;

  1. Brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss once per day. Brushing on a regular basis and flossing after every meal will help get rid of any food remnants stuck between the teeth. If you go days without brushing, these remnants accumulate and become plaque which later hardens to become tartar and this is essentially how tooth decay begins.
  2. Be mindful of your diet. A good diet will not only help your diabetes but will help prevent the development of dental problems. Avoid sugary foods especially because they are the chief sources of diabetes woes.
  3. Make sure that your family doctor and dentist are aware of your situation. It is important to let your dentist know about your diabetes and inform your general practitioner about any dental problems. The earlier the dentist knows about your situation, the better treatment he/she will administer.
  4. To ensure that your dental health is in the best possible shape, visit your dentist on a regular basis for checkups and cleaning. Always update your dentist on the state of your diabetes as well. Report any changes in your sugar levels to the doctor and abide by the advice the medical practitioners give you.

Here at Vita Dental we offer high quality treatment for teeth and gum problems. If you are suffering from diabetes and are worried about your dental health, then contact us today for more information on how to stay safe from dental problems. Visit our offices today or call to book an appointment with our dentists to receive the best possible dental care in the Houston area.