You may think that diabetes only affects particular parts of your body, however, it can affect your dental health as well. There are more than 4 million people in Britain who are affected by diabetes and some don’t even know it.
Gingivitis or gum disease is more common in sufferers of diabetes
Healthy gums are dependent on a reliable source of blood, but diabetes reduces this flow. When the gums don’t get the blood they need gum disease could develop. There are two forms of gum disease. The early stage is called gingivitis while the later stage is called periodontitis. As well as lowering blood flow, diabetes tends to lower the body’s resistance to infection. This puts your gums at risk of developing gingivitis, which starts as an inflammation which is caused by bacteria forming plaque.
The longer you allow plaque to remain on your teeth, the more likely the gingival will become damaged. This is the area of your gums found at the bottom of your teeth. Once it is damaged more serious gum damage may develop. It’s quite noticeable and will likely draw you to your dentist as you will experience swollen, red and even bleeding gums. Other symptoms of gum disease include:
- chronic bad breath;
- changes in your bite.
Sooner or later, if left untreated and your gums experience periodontitis, your jawbone and gums will begin to separate from your teeth which eventually causes the loosening of your teeth and tooth loss. One of the more serious effects of periodontitis is that it causes the blood sugar levels to rise, which means diabetes is far harder to manage.
Symptoms of diabetes
A dry mouth and the continuous urge to drink could be signs of diabetes. Lack of moisture in your mouth can also accelerate the development of bacteria. The presence of moisture in the form of saliva is the best way to keep the bacteria from developing and prevents plaque forming on the teeth’s surface. Saliva helps to wash off the plaque.
Other symptoms are dry tongue and cracked lips. You may find it more difficult to chew, swallow and even talk. A dry mouth caused by diabetes is made worse by products such as tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, salty and spicy food. Not consuming these products will help to prevent the mouth from drying up.
Dental care for a diabetic
Greater care of your teeth has to take place if you are a diabetic and that means doing the following:
- brushing your teeth two times a day and flossing once a day. This helps to prevent plaque build up.
- avoiding sweet, sugary food as this not only helps in controlling diabetes but helps your teeth too.
- telling your dentist you are diabetic ensures you get the most appropriate dental care.
You should arrange a dental appointment at Malmin Dental at least twice a year or be sure you are looking after your teeth more than that. Your dentist may prescribe a fluoride based rinse which will help to ensure your mouth remains moist enough to prevent the development of tooth decay.
Malmin Dental has experienced dentists who are able to offer individualised and specialised treatments to help prevent gum disease while ensuring you live with healthy teeth and gums.