Managing Increased Risk for Gum Disease with Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious disease affecting an estimated 30 million people in America. National Diabetes Awareness Month is intended to educate us about the impact of the disease on all parts of the body, and how it can be managed. Alabama Family Dentistry wants you to be aware that diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and gum disease, and that infections of the mouth are usually more acute in diabetic patients. There also exists an association between control over blood sugar levels and the extent of oral health problems. Who is most at risk for infections? Aging patients and youth just after puberty.
What is the Relationship between Diabetes and Gum Disease?
One of the primary symptoms of diabetes is the body’s reduced resistance to infection, which increases the risk for gum disease caused by gingivitis if left untreated because of a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums. It also can cause the more severe form of gum disease is called periodontitis, including inflammation and destruction of tissues surrounding and supporting teeth, gums, bone and fibers that hold the gums to the teeth. Pockets form between the teeth and gums as a result of the gums receding from the teeth, which in turn breeds germs and pus, and further deterioration occurs to the bone. Teeth may loosen and even fall out without proper dental care. At that point, options include periodontal gum surgery, or removing teeth.
Other diabetic complications such as burning mouth syndrome, fungal infections, such as thrush and oral candidiasis, and dry mouth may be experienced, all contributing to increased risk of decay. Recent research findings indicate that in turn, like any bacterial infection, having a serious gum disease may also affect blood glucose control and contribute to further diabetes related health degeneration, making it harder to control.
Recommendations to Manage Diabetic Oral Health
Surprisingly, the most important recommendation for diabetic oral care management is to stay healthy, which means good control of blood glucose level, diet and exercise. Other key diabetic oral care management techniques include:
• Establish a regular daily oral care routine of brushing, flossing and rinsing to prevent cavities and a buildup of plaque, and schedule regular checkups every six months with Alabama Family Dentistry.
• Make dental appointments for early morning when blood glucose levels are under better control, and eat and take your medications as directed before your visit.
• If you experience any bacterial or yeast infections in your mouth, feel pain, notice receding gums or suspect gum or tooth decay, see us immediately. Our dentists may prescribe antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses, or require more frequent cleanings depending on your condition.
• Denture wearers should remove and clean dentures daily.
• If you smoke, stop.
Check Ups and Dental Procedures
When you have diabetes, your oral care program dictates special care. Your dentist and hygienist at Alabama Family Dentistry are equipped to meet those needs, but they need to know your medical history, any changes in your dental condition and any medication you might be taking. If your blood glucose levels are not in good control, it is recommended that non-emergency dental procedures be postponed. With 4 locations in central Alabama, we strive to keep our dental appointments as short and as stress free as possible.