If you have diabetes, you know it can have adverse effects on different parts of your body. People with diabetes often have additional health concerns regarding their eyes, kidneys, and heart. Did you know that diabetes also increases your risk for gum disease? Let’s look at the ways diabetes affects oral health and what you can do.
The Relationship Between Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes can affect the body’s ability to heal and control infections, making it easier for bacteria to gain a foothold in your mouth. This can lead to an increased risk for gum disease and other periodontal issues. It can also lead to a greater risk of developing thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth and throat. These conditions can, in turn, impact diabetes treatment and management, creating a cycle if they are not properly managed.
Managing Your Oral Health
Diabetes makes managing your oral health more important than ever. While you work with your doctor to manage your diabetes and stay healthy, here are ways you can keep your teeth, mouth, and gums in good shape.
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss regularly, especially after meals
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid dry mouth with sugar-free gum or sprays for dry mouth
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
- Watch for symptoms of gum disease or other oral health conditions
Signs to Watch Out For
While you’re keeping up with a good oral health routine, keep an eye on your teeth and gums and look for warning signs of problems. If you notice something that concerns you, contact your dentist or doctor right away. Things to watch out for and notify your dentist about include,
- Red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums
- Pus from the gums
- Loose gums that pull away from your teeth
- Persistent bad breath or taste
- Loose teeth
- Spaces opening between your teeth
Diabetes and Thrush
Thrush is a common oral infection that occurs when yeast builds up in your mouth. Some medications, such as powerful antibiotics, can cause thrush to grow as the antibiotics kill healthy bacteria. High glucose levels in saliva can also cause thrush to thrive, leading to infections. White or red ulcerated patches on the skin of your mouth are signs of thrush. Usually, a white or yellow coating on the tongue indicates thrush as well. If you notice signs of thrush, visit your dentist or doctor for an antifungal prescription.
Family Dentistry in Bucks County
Are you concerned about your oral health? Have you fallen behind on your regular visits? If you’re looking for a dental clinic in Bucks County, Philadelphia, or the surrounding area, contact us for an appointment for you and your whole family.