As you read this article, you’ll learn about the connection between diabetes and oral health:
- Diabetic people are at greater risk of developing gingivitis
- Diabetes makes patients vulnerable to oral infections
- Oral infections can lead to infections of other systems, which are especially problematic for people with diabetes
Diabetes comes with many complications, one of which is the risk to your oral health. The good news is, the staff at Ingenious Dentistry in Houston, TX, can educate you about oral hygiene and perform the services you need to keep your smile bright.
How Are Diabetes and Dental Care Connected?
Many factors impact dental care:
- Hygiene habits
- Pre-existing conditions
Diabetes is one health condition that can make someone more vulnerable to oral infections and other dental issues.
High Glucose Affects Dental Health
When your glucose levels are too high, it’s difficult for your body to fight off infections. Your mouth is a key entry point for bacteria, which can affect not only your teeth and gums but your internal organs as well. If your blood sugar isn’t within normal levels, your body may not regulate that bacteria as successfully as individuals without diabetes, making you more vulnerable to infections.
Diabetic People Are at a Higher Risk of Cavities
High blood glucose means a higher concentration of sugar in areas of the body, including the mouth. When you have high sugar levels near your teeth, you’re more likely to develop plaque and cavities, even if you have good dental hygiene.
Another factor is a common diabetes symptom: dry mouth. Diabetes may impact your saliva production, which can increase the risk of cavities. Saliva protects your teeth by coating them, so your pearly whites become more vulnerable to bacteria without that layer.
Why Is Oral Health Important?
Oral health is important for everyone, as we all need our teeth to consume food. However, people with diabetes should be especially cognizant of dental issues since a condition that’s a mere inconvenience in a non-diabetic person can become a life-threatening problem for a diabetic individual.
In the worst cases, bacteria can enter the mouth and proceed to the digestive tract. From there, they can infect organs and other systems, leading to serious medical conditions. Since diabetic patients’ immune systems may not fight off these infections, they present a clear danger.
Avoid Gum Disease
Bacteria don’t just affect your teeth — they can also harm your gums. When tartar settles under your gums, it can cause them to swell and even bleed in a condition called gingivitis. Weakened gums don’t bode well for keeping your teeth and can lead to bone and soft tissue infection if not addressed.
Keep Your Smile Beautiful
Smiles are an important part of everyday life — they let our loved ones know we’re happy to see them, show that we’re having a great time, and welcome strangers to our home or workplace. Unfortunately, gingivitis can negatively affect our smiles with discoloration and even tooth breakage or loss. The good news is, dental care can remedy these issues and even prevent them.
Protect Yourself From Future Disease
Even patients who don’t have diabetes are at risk of developing certain medical conditions if oral health is neglected. Research has tied the following diseases to poor oral health:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Which Dental Treatments Do You Need?
During your visit, your dentist will examine your mouth and x-rays for any signs of gingivitis, tooth decay, or other issues. Afterward, you can discuss any dental treatment you need. Simple services such as cleaning can be done the same day, while more complex procedures may need to be scheduled for another time.
We offer many services at our Houston, TX, location. Here are just a few of our most common procedures.
Coffee, smoking and other factors can discolor your enamel, leaving you with yellow or brown teeth. Teeth whitening is a procedure to lift that discoloration to return your smile to a brilliant white.
During a professional cleaning, a dentist or dental assistant will use special tools to remove built-up plaque. This procedure is essential because no matter how meticulous you are at home, you miss spots. Cleaning is also when dentists spot small problems, allowing them to treat issues before they become dangerous.
When a cavity develops, it must be drilled out and the resulting hole filled. Fillings are sterile metal or composite materials that safely fill holes to prevent infection and protect the tooth from further decay.
How Can You Take Care of Your Teeth at Home?
Good oral health starts at home. While most of us learn how to take care of our teeth at a young age, we may grow complacent over the years. However, it’s essential to follow dentist recommendations when cleaning your teeth. As a reminder, here are the proper ways to brush, floss, and use mouthwash.
You should brush twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. Each brushing should last at least two minutes, and you should try to reach every part of every tooth. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush that won’t irritate your gums and replace it every three months for best results.
Flossing is essential for gum health, as it removes food particles stuck between teeth. You should floss at least once a day, preferably before brushing. Make sure that you press the floss at an angle against your tooth to scrape away at built-up food.
Mouthwash isn’t an essential part of oral hygiene, but it can be a helpful addition to your routine. Its bacteria-fighting qualities help with bad breath and, combined with brushing and flossing, can prevent cavities. After you floss and brush, vigorously swish mouthwash in your mouth for 30 seconds, then spit into the sink. Most mouthwashes have mint or peppermint flavorings to create a fresh feeling after use.
What Are Signs You Should Visit a Dentist?
Even if you take perfect care of your teeth, you need to visit a dentist regularly. Additionally, you may spot concerning signs in between appointments, in which case you need to see your dentist as soon as possible.
It’s Been Six Months Since Your Last Visit
Ideally, you should get a dental cleaning every six months. Biannual visits ensure that your teeth are in pristine condition and any potential problems are caught early.
You See White Patches in Your Mouth
White (and sometimes red) patches on your tongue are signs of a fungal infection called thrush. This condition is more likely to develop in individuals with diabetes, especially if their blood sugar isn’t under control.
Your Gums Are Bleeding
Bleeding gums are a sign you have gingivitis. Normal brushing and flossing should not cause your gums to bleed, so if you’re finding blood in your sink after brushing, you need to see a dentist as soon a possible.
Are you worried about how diabetes is affecting your oral health? Ingenious Dentistry can help. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment at our clinic in Houston, TX, give us a call at 713-795-5905 or contact us online.
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