What Effect Can Diabetes Have on Oral Health?

Approximately half of all Americans have periodontal (gum disease), reports the CDC. However, around 91% of Americans over the age of 20 have had cavities at some point in their lives. The statistics are worrisome, considering both cavities and gum disease can lead to tooth loss and a plethora of other health issues. Diabetes oral health is something that should be taken seriously by diabetics, since they are at a higher risk of problems. The main thing to avoid is high blood sugar, which can affect the integrity of teeth and gums. It is important to know your risks and take preventive steps to ensure you have a beautiful, healthy smile and good overall oral health.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

There are two stages of gum disease that can occur more in people with diabetes. The first, gingivitis, is reversible. Its symptoms include swollen gums, bleeding, and bright red gums. Periodontitis is the result of the progression of gingivitis. Signs include loose teeth, pain when chewing, sores in the mouth, and increased sensitivity when eating. In order to keep gum diseases like gingivitis at bay, regular brushing and flossing (with a heavy emphasis on technique) are key. These habits will stop plaque from forming on your teeth and irritating your gums. You can also use a Waterpik, which shoots out water to clean the areas between teeth and beneath the gums.

Visiting your dentist often (twice-yearly cleanings may be recommended) is also important since dentists can spot problems early. Your oral hygienist can remove plaque using professional methods and equipment. They can also advise you if they feel that the wrong brushing techniques or products are contributing to gum problems.

A Greater Likelihood of Cavities

People with diabetes who have high blood sugar levels can have a higher risk of cavities since sugar raises the amount of plaque that forms on the teeth and produces acid (which in turn destroys the tooth’s protective enamel). Once again, brushing and flossing after meals and regular dental visits are key. For younger patients, dentists can recommend the use of aids like plaque revealers, which are helpful in identifying areas of your teeth that one isn’t cleaning as well as one might think. Indeed, revealers can be used by adults as well. Investing in a good toothbrush is also indicated. A 2014 review of 36 studies showed that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and preventing gum disease than manual toothbrushes so if you haven’t tried an electric toothbrush before, it might be the right time to give it a try.

Why is Oral Health So Important?

Keeping your teeth and gums in good condition will not only ensure you have a functional mouth and beautiful smile. It is also important to keep other diseases at bay. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have found, bacteria that normally exist in the mouth can invade the heart tissue, causing a dangerous, sometimes deadly infection of the heart (endocarditis). Researchers warned that people should prioritize brushing and flossing.

People with diabetes have a higher risk of oral health issues. These include cavities and gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and gum pain and discomfort. To keep your mouth in top condition, make sure to clean teeth regularly. Furthermore, learn the proper technique, and make frequent visits to your dentist for professional cleaning and inspection.

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