How exactly Diabetes affects Oral Health?

How exactly Diabetes affects Oral Health?

Posted by Dr. Lee Oct 28, 2020

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Diabetic patients are always advised to take care of their vital organs due to the high sugar level in their blood. However, the majority of people suffering from diabetes don’t know how much it affects their oral health. So, is it important to be more careful if one has diabetes? The answer is, yes. Diabetics have higher chances of facing several oral health issues, than normal people, including Gingivitis, Periodontitis, and Dry mouth. Diabetes can also cause gum problems and other oral problems like fungal infections (Thrush).

How exactly Diabetes affects Oral Health?

High blood sugar can cause many complications for our vital organs and oral health is also not an exception in this regard. From fungal infections to healing issues, oral health can be under serious threat if not taken care of regularly.

The food we consume daily contains a significant amount of starch and sugar which reacts with the bacteria present in our mouth. This increases the formation of plaque on our teeth. Plaque is very bad for teeth and causes gum infection too. In case if one has diabetes, it is important to keep the starchy foods in check when it comes to diet. The lower the sugar and starch level in their food, the better.

Growth of plaque causes even bigger problems. As plaque forms in between our teeth and hardens over time, it causes damage to the gums. The hardened plaque often causes swollen gum and even bleeding in worse cases. This is known as Gingivitis.

Gingivitis causes more problem if one has diabetes. Diabetes slows down the healing process, be it the swelling or the bleeding gums. This is a big problem for people suffering from Gingivitis as the infection spreads and becomes worse. The infection then causes real damage to the root of the tooth and the soft tissues. The gums get swollen further and it loses the grip on the enamel. This is known as Periodontitis.

Other than these serious problems, diabetics can also face several other and very common oral problems. The most common issue is the dry mouth syndrome where diabetics experience a lack of saliva inside their mouth. This can cause dryness and accelerate the decay process of the enamel. Lack of saliva can also cause fungal infections like Thrush.

How to avoid these complications and keep better oral hygiene?

In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, it is highly recommended to floss at least once a day. Flossing ensures the gaps between the teeth are clean which decreases the growth of bacteria. Flossing also cleans any kind of plaque that’s growing in between the teeth.

Brushing needs to be gentle for diabetics. Use of soft bristles and toothpaste containing fluoride is highly recommended. As the gums are weaker, brushing vigorously can further damage them. After every meal, or after consuming any kind of food, its important to wash your mouth to ensure there aren’t’ any food particle left in your mouth.

Diabetics need to visit their dentists periodically. A regular oral check up can prevent any kind of damage to the gums or an infection from growing unknowingly. If there are any irritations or swelling in the gums, take professional advice as soon as possible.

In case of dry mouth syndrome, drink enough water or keep non-sugary chewing gums in your mouth. Avoid eating sticky foods, like chocolate. Keep starchy food items off your list as much possible and keep blood sugar level in check.

Bad addictions like smoking or any kind of tobacco are harmful to anyone but if you have diabetes it can be fatal. Avoiding such habits is strongly advised.

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