Diabetes is a serious health complication that, in much simpler terms, means that you have too much sugar or glucose in your blood. There are two types of diabetes, but regardless of which of the two you have, you’re basically facing a lifelong bout with diabetes medication.
Diabetes affects the whole body, including your mouth and gums. Though, to what extent depends on how well you’re able to discipline yourself in terms of controlling your blood sugar.
If kept under control, diabetes should have little to no effect on oral health. But, if left unchecked, the effects of diabetes on the mouth and gums can be dramatic.
Those with diabetes are susceptible to the following:
- Increasingly progressive gum disease
- Xerostomia, or dry mouth, which can also lead to periodontal disease
- Poor healing in the mouth
- Thrush or oral candidiasis
- Burning sensation in the mouth and/or tongue
Diabetes, if left unchecked, can significantly affect your body’s white blood cells, making your body much weaker against infections. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, which is why those with uncontrolled diabetes are more susceptible to it and also why those with diabetes, in general, tend to suffer from worse cases of gum disease.
If you’re suffering from both diabetes and periodontal disease, it’s important to get treatment. Successful treatment of gum disease can help keep diabetes under control, as any type of infection can cause blood sugar levels to rise. Once the infection is treated, your blood sugar levels may go back down to normal, making it easier to keep your diabetes in check without always having to rely on medication.
Going to the Dentist
The first step in keeping your diabetes under control is to inform your dentist about the history of your condition. Your dentist should know about when it started, when you started taking medication and what sort of medication you are on. Basically, be honest with your dentist because this kind of information will help him or her decide what course of treatment is best for you.
One reason why you want to tell your dentist about the history of your diabetes is because they may accidentally prescribe you medicine that may interfere with your diabetes medication.
Because of your diabetes, your wounds tend to heal much more slowly and you’re more prone to infection. So, as far as dental treatments and recovery goes, be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations to the letter.
Now, while going to the dentist is a significant step when it comes to having gum disease treated and keeping your diabetes under control, equally as important is the follow-up home care. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, your diabetes will only get worse and this will only make it harder to control your diabetes.
Brush twice a day and floss once to prevent decay. If you’re suffering from dry mouth, ask our dentist or physician about other means of moistening your mouth. You should also rinse with fluoride mouthwash or gels to further prevent decay.
Minimizing The Risk for Gum Disease
Those with diabetes are more at risk for gum disease than those who are not, due to a combination of many factors. As a result, they have special needs.
Should you be suffering from diabetes, be sure to keep your glucose levels in check at all times and practice proper oral care at home. You should also visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleaning, as well as make sure that your dentist is well-informed about the history of your disease.
By making sure that you do all those things, you suffering from diabetes should not be synonymous to you also suffering from gum disease.
If you’re have diabetes and would like more information on periodontal disease, contact Dr. Bartz at 708-430-4440 or visit our website at www.bartzandbartzdental.com to learn more.
Dr. Bartz proudly welcomes patients from Chicago, Orland Park, Burbank and Palos Hills.