- August 8, 2016
Sometimes we need to get serious, and today’s topic is one of those times.
Today, we will be discussing diabetes and how it may be affecting your oral health.
Diabetes isn’t new, so you may be wondering why it’s worth discussing in a dental blog of all places. Part of the reason is that diabetes does increase your risk of dental problems.
Another reason is that diabetes is becoming more common both across the United States and right here in Michigan.
In 1996, 5.3 percent of Michiganders reported that they had been told that they have diabetes by a doctor. As of last year, that had nearly doubled to 10.4 percent, according to America’s Health Rankings.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you already understand that it affects your day-to-day life. Our dentists at Holly Dental Care want you to keep in mind how it affects your mouth as well.
Diabetes And Gum Disease
Health experts are quite aware that there is a connection between diabetes and periodontal disease. They are still studying to determine the reasons for those connections.
While health experts are still researching what cause-and-effect relationship exists between the two, they do know that people with diabetes have a higher risk of developing gum disease.
Hopefully, this is motivation for you to be more aware of your oral health if you should be diagnosed with diabetes.
The American Dental Association recommends doing three things as part of basic preventive care:
- Brush your teeth
These means brushing twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should scrub your teeth for two minutes each time you brush, making sure you clean your teeth on all sides.
- Floss between your teeth
Specifically, you need to clean between your teeth and below your gumline at least once per day. These are places that you aren’t going to clean effectively with a toothbrush alone.
Dental floss is the most common tool for doing this job, but you may want to learn about flossers or water flossers if you have trouble using dental floss.
- Visit the dentist for routine cleanings
A good guideline to follow is to visit your dentist a couple times per year for professional cleanings and examinations. You may need to visit more frequently if you have chronic oral health issues.
During your checkups, a dental professional will remove any plaque or tartar buildup on your teeth. If there are any issues (like gum disease), routine examinations can increase the likelihood that you will catch it early. That also makes your treatment more effective.
Diabetes And Dry Mouth
While the exact connections between diabetes and gum disease have not yet been confirmed, experts do have some hypotheses.
We know that people with diabetes are more prone to developing a dry mouth. This could be a factor in their increased risk for gum disease.
Saliva helps in the digestion of food, but it also aids in removing bacteria from our mouths. With less saliva, the bacteria that cause gum disease have a better chance of surviving and thriving in your mouth.
At the same time, the diabetes-gum disease connection may go both ways. Health experts have found that gum disease can make it more difficult for some people to control their blood sugar levels, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Dry mouth also can increase your risk for a fungal infection called thrush, which is characterized by white patches in your mouth.
Signs Of Gum Disease
It’s important for everyone to know the symptoms of periodontal disease, but anyone with diabetes should become familiar with these signs:
▸ Bleeding gums
▸ Red, swollen gums
▸ Gums that pull away from your teeth (gum recession)
▸ Pus leaking from your gum
▸ Lingering bad breath
▸ Sore and tender gums
None of these symptoms should be ignored. In spite of what some people believe, it is not normal for your gums to bleed — unless you have gum disease.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, please make an appointment at Holly Dental Care soon. We want to help you treat your periodontal problems as quickly as possible.
Making An Appointment
Scheduling a visit with one of our dentists is easy if you live in or near Holly, MI. You can call our office at 877-321-1933. You also can contact us with our online form to request an appointment or to ask us a question.
Our team is on your side, and we will do everything that we can to help you keep your mouth free from gum disease.