It’s estimated that nearly 30 million U.S. residents have been diagnosed with diabetes. That’s nearly 10 percent of the American population, and that’s not even considering the 9 percent that are undiagnosed. Furthermore, some medical professionals estimate that as many as one-third of all U.S. adults will be diagnosed with diabetes by the year 2050. Like so many health conditions, however, diabetes has a tendency to impact the entire body. A case in point example concerning diabetes is how the medical condition can also take its toll on the mouth.
Dental Problems in Diabetic Patients
As we noted in the opening, there’s a link between diabetes and certain dental and oral conditions. Specifically, the conditions that those with either type 1, type 2 or pre-diabetes may exhibit include:
- Periodontal disease: Also known as an advanced form of gum disease, if this condition isn’t treated or managed, it may lead to gum and bone damage or tooth loss. Gum disease can also present challenges in controlling blood sugar.
- Mouth infections: The mouth infection thrush is a common oral issue in diabetes patients. Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs when the glucose level in saliva increases. It’s characterized by white patches in the mouth that can be sensitive and painful.
- Dry mouth: Low saliva levels lead to dry mouth.
Dental Tips for Diabetics
The good news for diabetic patients – as far as the mouth is concerned, that is – is that as long as the condition is being properly managed, the likelihood of the aforementioned issues is minimal. On that note, it is worthwhile to share some tips and suggestions for diabetic patients in terms of keeping up their oral health:
- Manage your blood glucose: As we noted previously, fluctuating levels of blood glucose can lead to a myriad of oral issues.
- Brush/floss: Minimally, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice per day and flossing at least once per day. This is even more important for diabetics, as gum disease is often more prevalent in such patients – and proper oral care can keep symptoms at bay.
- Stop smoking: Smoking makes gum disease even worse, so it’s important to eliminate this bad habit.
- See the dentist regularly: While this pointer may seem obvious, seeing the dentist at least once every six months is immensely important for diabetic patients (not to mention all patients). Just think of your visit to the dentist as an oral tune-up, as any issues are able to be detected – and likely corrected – before they become big, expensive and potentially irreversible issues.
For more information on how to care for your teeth if you’re a diabetic, contact Caven Dental today.