December 22, 2019
If you are living with diabetes, it’s likely that you’re already taking the steps to manage your symptoms regularly. Monitoring your blood sugar levels is critical to maintaining good overall health, but did you know that having diabetes can affect your oral health as well? According to a dentist in Naples, failing to recognize the ways it can harm your smile could result in a higher risk of plaque, and by proxy, tooth decay and gum disease. Here’s what you need to know moving forward.
Why Glucose is the Culprit
Diabetes is known for raising blood sugar levels in your body. This sugar, also known as glucose, can cause pain, infection and other problems with your teeth, gums, and oral tissue. This includes your tongue, the roof and bottom of your mouth, and the inside of your cheeks.
Glucose is always present in your saliva, which means if your diabetes is not under control, high glucose levels can actually help bacteria grow. Once the saliva combines with loose food debris in your mouth, it can form plaque that causes tooth decay, cavities, gum disease and bad breath.
How Gum Disease Exacerbates Diabetic Symptoms
Whether it’s gingivitis or periodontitis, the more advanced form of gum disease that is largely irreversible, diabetes can increase your risk. This condition is characterized by red, inflamed or swollen gums as well as gum recession, which makes it easier for plaque and bacteria to attack the roots and dentin layers of teeth. These areas are far more vulnerable than tooth enamel, and severe gum disease can even result in tooth loss.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that develops in the mouth. If you notice sore white or red patches on your gums, tongue, cheeks or the roof of your mouth, you’ll need treatment to get it handled.
Chronic Dry Mouth
Uncontrolled glucose production can also lead to xerostomia, also known as dry mouth. The dryer your mouth is, the easier it is for plaque and tartar to develop. A dry mouth or tongue, cracked lips, mouth sores, infection and problems chewing, eating, talking and swallowing can all imply you have xerostomia.
A burning sensation in the mouth can easily be due to uncontrolled glucose levels. If your mouth tastes bitter or you have chronic dry mouth, it could be due to oral burning.
How to Keep Your Mouth Healthy
Thankfully, you can protect yourself from complications to your oral health when you have diabetes. On top of managing your glucose levels with your doctor, you should also:
- Eat healthy meals and follow a meal plan as dictated by your doctor
- Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush
- Use small circular motions to brush, making sure to brush all sides of your teeth
- Drink water containing fluoride or use an oral mouth rinse that contains fluoride daily
- Floss daily, or use a dental pick if it’s easier
- Commit to dental exams and cleanings once every six month
Are you struggling with your oral health because of diabetes? Don’t wait to give the dentist a call so you can discuss your needs in more detail. Taking care of your oral health is an essential part of managing your diabetes and will help you feel better overall.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Skupny offers many treatments and years of expertise to patients with unique oral care needs. Whether you need tips on maintaining good oral health as you manage your condition or you need treatment for oral health issues related to diabetes, he’s ready to provide you comfortable and effective care. For questions, or to schedule your next appointment with his office, you can contact him through his website.
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