Diacare Dental Clinic

Healthy teeth and gums give you plenty of reasons to smile. It is well known that diabetes can affect the eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other important systems in the body. However, not many are aware of the fact that diabetes has serious effect on your oral health too.

Diabetics are more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease. Usually people with diabetes can be treated the same way as any other people. It is only when people with Diabetes avoid regular dental care that they increase the risk of gum and teeth problems. Good blood sugar control can prevent gum problems. Gum disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes, affecting nearly 22% of those diagnosed.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON DENTAL PROBLEMS FACED BY A DIABETIC?
Diabetic individuals are more susceptible to-

  • Early Gum disease also known as Gingivitis characterised by inflamed and bleeding gums. When teeth are not brushed properly, a sticky film of germs begin to build up on the teeth. The gums become red, get swollen and may begin to bleed when brushed. This is the first stage of serious gum disease. If not stopped gingivitis will lead to severe form of the disease also known as Periodontitis which is commonly called as Pyorrhoea.
  • Severe Gum Disease also known as Periodontitis. It is the advanced stage of gingivitis characterised by the progression of infection to bone anchoring your teeth and cause destruction of the same. The more severe form of gum disease is called periodontitis. When you reach this stage, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth. Pockets form between your teeth and gums. These fill with germs and pus, and deepen. When this happens, you may need gum surgery to save your teeth. If nothing is done, the infection goes on to destroy the bone around your teeth. The teeth may start to move or get loose. Your teeth may fall out or need to be pulled
  • Thrush- an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth. Diabetics are at risk of developing this condition because the fungus thrives on the glucose present in increased numbers in saliva. In this condition, white or red patches in the mouth become ulcerated and patients experience a painful and burning sensation
  • Dry mouth- also known as xerostomia. It is often a symptom of undetected Diabetes. Reduction in the flow of saliva in the patients with diabetes is a common problem. Saliva helps in washing away sticky foods that cause plaque and also help in controlling germ growth and other oral infections. Dry mouth can affect taste and make chewing/swallowing of food difficult. It can also increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • WHY ARE DIABETICS MORE PRONE TO GUM DISEASE?
    Diabetes put people at a greater risk for gum problems because of a variety of reasons including
    a. Increased Plaque due to less saliva in diabetics.
    b. Elevated glucose levels in their oral fluids which in turn affect the composition of plaque for being less infective to more infective.
    c. Loss of collagen in gum tissue- Collagen is a protein that supports the gums, skin, tendons, cartilage and bone. People with diabetes tend to lose collagen in the gum tissue, hastening periodontal destruction.
    d. Vascular disorder- Reduced circulation in the tiny blood vessels in gums caused by diabetes interferes with nutrition and healing in the gums.
    e. Reduction in immunity- Diabetics develop abnormality in the blood component that helps fight the infection thereby reducing the immunity of the body.

    WARNING SIGNS -
    a. Swelling or pus around teeth, gums or any place in your mouth. Swelling can be large or as small as pimple. b. Bleeding gums
    c. White or red patches on gums, tongue, inside of the cheeks or the roof of your mouth
    d. Hot and cold sensitivity in your teeth
    e. Dark spots or holes on your teeth.
    f. Pain while chewing.
    g. Itching sensation in gums.
    h. Bad breath.
    i. For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an age earlier than is typical.

    How Can I Help Prevent Dental Problems Associated with Diabetes?
    First and foremost, control your blood glucose level. Then, take good care of your teeth and gums, along with regular dental checkups every six months. To control thrush (fungal infection) maintain good diabetic control, avoid smoking and, if you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily. Good blood glucose control can also help prevent or relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes

    Regular dental visits are important. Research suggests that treating gum disease can help improve blood sugar control in patients living with diabetes, decreasing the progression of the disease. Practicing good oral hygiene and having professional deep cleanings done by your dentist can help to lower your HbA1c. (This is a lab test that shows your average level of blood sugar over the previous three months. It indicates how well you are controlling your diabetes.) Our Diabetes Dental Health Action Plan

    Teamwork involving self-care and professional care from your dentist will be beneficial in keeping your healthy smile as well as potentially slowing progression of diabetes. Here are five oral health-related things you can do to for optimal wellness:

  • Control your blood sugar levels. Use your diabetes-related medications as directed, changing to a healthier diet and even exercising more can help. Good blood sugar control will also help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you wear any type of denture, clean it each day.
  • Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss correctly daily.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups and have professional deep cleanings by your dentist.