They all say, “dont eat sugar, or your teeth will go bad!!” but what about those who already have sugar in their blood? Diabetics and dental problems dont go well together. so if you are one of them, Pay attention.. you are at risk!
How does diabetes affect your teeth
- High blood sugar means high plaque Studies have proven that high blood sugar level leads to high plaque accumulation. Plaque is a white coloured substance formed by bacterias and food particals that accumulates on your teeth. high plaque leads to tartar formation, even decay. It may also lead to Gingivitis and periodontitis (advanced gum disorders) when you dont have sugar under control, Gum disorders start to develop. 1 in 5 diabetic patients have lost their teeth because of having aggressive gum disorders.
- Dry Mouth Uncontrolled diabetic patients have less salivary secretions. they often have dry mouth which is the root cause of decay formation. saliva keeps your mouth clean and protected. If you have less saliva, the natural cleansing mechanism of our oral cavity gets hampered and leads to decay, gum diseases and bad odour.
- Delayed wound healing Poorly controlled diabetes can slow the healing process after dental surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the affected area will be restricted. Also Diabetic patients have diminished immune system which makes fighting against any infection little difficult. And thus it may lead to delayed wound healing and chances of reinfection are high. so keep a check on any injury in the oral cavity. if you find anything that it not getting healed properly, see your dentist right away.
- Infections Fungal infections (oral candidiasis/oral thrush) are most common in diabetic patients. The yeast (fungus) thrive on the higher amount of sugar found in your saliva. It looks like a curdlike white layer coating on your tongue and the insides of your cheeks. Thrush is more common in people who wear dentures. It can often leave a bad taste in your mouth If you have ill fitting dentures, watch out for the infections on corner of your lips and do inform your dentist about it.
- Aggregating factors
- Are you a smoker or an alcoholic? Success rates of any dental procedure is low if you have these habits with diabetes
- Are you a pregnant diabetic? If you are Type 1 diabetic, plan your pregnancy only after getting yourself treated for even the smallest dental problems. If you are diagnosed during the pregnancy (gestational diabetes) visit your dentist and get yourself checked for any signs of dental problems.
- Are you a diabetic for a long span? If you have long standing diabetes, mention it to your dentist before they give you any advanced treatment. Post treatment results for chronic diabetics are not very good if they had uncontrolled diabetes in their previous years.
Proper dental care
To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously
- Make a commitment to manage your diabetes Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugars, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems. Keep an eye on your HbA1c and keep it under 7 at any cost.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums.
- Inform make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. Every time you visit your dentist, remind him or her that you have diabetes. before every appointment with your dentist, make sure you have your medications and have food to avoid hypoglycemia
Its a two way street. Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to increase blood glucose level leading to the progression of diabetes.
So keep your sugar under control and keep your gums clean..