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Diabetes and Your Oral Health – Is There a Connection?

Fat man with a toothache. Isolated on white background.

Among common health conditions, diabetes is the one that is often associated with oral health. And it’s because diabetes can really cause dental problems. In fact, patients with either Type I or Type II diabetes are at a higher risk of getting fungal infections in the mouth, gum disease, and tooth decay, compared to those without diabetes. Luckily, diabetic patients can still manage their oral health by carefully controlling their glucose levels and making sure that they practice good oral hygiene.

 

How Does Diabetes Affect One’s Oral Health?

Diabetes that is poorly controlled can impair one’s immune system. That means diabetics often find it difficult to fight off fungal and bacterial infections. For instance, thrush (a fungal infection) and gum disease present different levels of complications for diabetic patients. Diabetics also often produce less saliva, which is your body’s way of rinsing the mouth naturally. Not having enough saliva can lead to dry mouth and eventually, tooth decay.

 

What Can You Do?

Diabetes can really affect one’s oral health in a number of ways, but that does not mean you cannot do anything to minimize your family’s risk of suffering from conditions like tooth decay or gum disease. One way to reduce the risk of oral problems that are related to diabetes is by controlling glucose levels through proper diet and the right medication. According to studies, those with poorly controlled glucose levels are more likely to get gum disease than those with controlled glucose levels.

 

Aside from that, it is important to practice good oral hygiene to reduce the bacteria in the mouth that contribute to gum disease and cavities. Diabetic patients should thoroughly brush their teeth at least twice a day or after every meal. Use products that are specially designed for the removal of bacteria and plaque along the gum line. Flossing should also be done daily.

 

Of course, if you are suffering from diabetes, it would be best if you regularly visit your dentist to get professional dental cleaning and thorough examination every six months or so. Make sure that you let you dentist know if you are diagnosed with diabetes or if your family has a history of this condition so your dentist can check if there are any signs of potential problems. Your dental professional will also be able to provide you with a personalized treatment plan that will be suitable for your exact needs.

 

 


 

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