More than 400 million people globally live with diabetes today. With diabetes, people suffer from having higher than normal levels of blood glucose. As a result, this can lead to consequences for overall health. While diabetes mainly affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin, it can also slowly creep up and cause other issues, including cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, dental health issues and much more.
When it comes to oral health, those with diabetes run a higher risk of having gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems compared to those without diabetes. When you want to ensure that your diabetes doesn’t impact your oral health and your healthy smile, here’s what you can do:
Maintain Blood Sugar
A crucial aspect of controlling your diabetes and keeping your oral health in check is maintaining your blood sugar levels. Your physician will have a target range that should be kept in mind at all times as you’re living your daily life. Elevated blood sugar can lead to a host of oral health complications. Keep a regular tab on your blood sugar through monitoring, and if you have medication prescribed, take it on-time every time. Regular exercise and cutting down on unnecessary sugars are also necessary to keep your blood sugar controlled.
Be Consistent About Oral Hygiene
Lack of proper oral hygiene habits at home can cause even those without diabetes to be at higher risk of oral health problems like cavities and periodontitis. Brushing your teeth regularly, at least twice a day every day, is critical to remove any bacteria and leftover food that can eat away at your teeth.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for the best results. And don’t forget about your tongue! Brushing your tongue can remove bacteria and help you get fresher breath. Follow up with a sugar-free mouthwash and floss to make sure that your teeth are spotless.
Opt for Regular Dental Cleanings and Check-Ups
Even when you’re following the best oral care routine at home, it never hurts to bolster it with visits to your dentist. Regular cleaning by a dentist can help remove pesky bacteria in hard-to-reach areas. It’s important that you inform your dentist about your diabetes diagnosis before your dental cleaning or check-up so they can closely monitor your oral health and provide an accurate diagnosis.
Your dentist may also ask about any medications you are taking for your diabetes, and it’s important that you maintain complete transparency so they can take care of your oral health as best as possible. Regular check-ups can also help catch symptoms of oral health problems early on and increase treatment success.
Control Dry Mouth
For many living with diabetes, dry mouth has become a common but unsolvable problem. A dry mouth isn’t just uncomfortable; it also increases your chances of tooth decay. To deal with the symptoms, it’s important to remain hydrated throughout the day, and that means drinking a lot of water.
A lot of apps available today can help with reminders so you remember to drink water regularly (especially if it’s not a habit). Look into sugar-free gum that can help with saliva and prevent dry mouth. If you can’t find a good way to lessen your dry mouth symptoms, it’s crucial to talk about it with your dentist.
Watch for Gum Disease Symptoms
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is known to be a common oral health complication for those with diabetes. There are many symptoms of gum disease that are known to manifest early and can help you get treatment as soon as possible. Watch out for:
- Red, inflamed, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Continual bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Increased sensitivity in gums
If you have more than one symptom, it’s ideal to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. A thorough evaluation can help you ascertain whether it really is gum disease and what treatment would be best to follow with your diabetes. Remember, early intervention is crucial to increase the chances of success when it comes to treatment.
Follow A Good Diet
Whether it’s for diabetes management or for good oral health, a good diet can have far-reaching benefits for your lifestyle holistically. A balanced diet should include a good mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products (low-fat).
Reduce and then completely eliminate sugars and processed foods from your diet because they can be a big contributor to tooth decay and high blood sugar levels. Instead of going for alcoholic beverages or high-sugar soda drinks, choose water or fruit-infused water that can taste just as good. Munch on fruits like apples that can stimulate saliva production and keep your teeth clean.
Research is always progressing our understanding of oral health, diabetes, and the relation between the two. Staying informed about the latest developments can help you create a better plan that maintains and improves your oral health and diabetes. Attend seminars, workshops, and lectures relating to oral health and diabetes so you know what you should or shouldn’t do.
Maintaining the right oral routine is essential when you’re dealing with diabetes, especially if you have a history of oral health problems or require corrective dental treatments like braces or aligners. By following these essential tips, you can see an immediate improvement not just in your oral health but in your diabetes management, too. Enjoy a healthy smile when you’re transparent with your dental team and follow a good lifestyle! Be sure to manage your dental health with diabetes.
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.