Dental Health Tips for Those With Diabetes | Vincent J. Picone D.D.S.
Tips for Optimal Dental Health When You Have Diabetes
Diabetes can have an impact on all aspects of your personal health, including your oral health. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to tooth loss, gum disease, and severe infections. It’s important to be very proactive about your dental care habits. If you have diabetes, follow these tips to attain and maintain optimal dental health.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Levels Under Control
If you have consistently high blood sugar, you are more vulnerable to gum disease. High blood sugar may also contribute to oral health conditions like thrush and dry mouth. Do what it takes to ensure that your blood sugar levels are stable. That means that you need to frequently check your blood sugar levels and act accordingly. If you have high blood sugar, you may need insulin.
Those who have type 2 diabetes may be able to best manage their blood sugar with medications, diet changes, and exercise. Your primary care physician should be able to help with getting your blood sugar under control.
Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
When you have diabetes, your mouth may be slower to heal from wounds. When you floss, be careful not to cut into your gumline. Be careful when brushing your teeth, too. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging your gums. Always brush gently for two full minutes each time.
Take Actions to Heal Dry Mouth
Although anyone can get dry mouth, this conditions is especially common among diabetics. Some of the drugs used to treat diabetes can contribute to dry mouth; so can high blood sugar. If you have dry mouth, don’t just ignore it. Dry mouth can lead to ulcers, cavities, sores, and infections.
If you have dry mouth, talk to your dentist and primary care physician about how to eliminate the condition. Stay hydrated and sip water frequently throughout the day. Use a mouthwash designed to alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Chew sugarless gum and use a humidifier when possible.
If you aren’t a smoker, you already have an advantage. If you currently smoke, make a strong effort to stop. If you can’t do it alone, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs. Not only is smoking bad for your overall health, but it can put diabetes who are already at risk for gum disease at an even greater risk.
Talk to Your Dentist
See your dentist regularly. Always go to the dentist at the first sign of an infection since infections can be slower to heal with diabetes. In fact, your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups. Morning appointments are usually preferable for diabetics because that is often when blood sugar levels are most stable.
Be sure to let your dentist know that you have diabetes. You may ask for your dentist’s insights and advice on the best dental care practices for your condition. Also, be sure to do the following:
- Notify your dentist of any medications you are taking.
- Let your dentist know which type of diabetes you have and how long ago you were diagnosed with it.
- Be honest about how well you are managing your diabetes.
- Explain how you monitor your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
- Let your dentist know how often you see a doctor about your diabetes and overall health.
- Inform your dentist of your latest diabetes test results.
- Disclose whether you have incidents when your blood sugar may get several high or low.
- Talk to your dentist about any mouth sores, burning sensations or pain you may have.
Finally, having diabetes doesn’t mean that you are sentenced to a life of gum disease and dental decay. If you follow these tips and your dentist’s advice on what’s best for your dental health, you can enjoy healthy teeth and gums throughout your life. Contact Vincent J. Picone D.D.S. for your next dental appointment today.