When Diabetes Affects Your Teeth

diabetesDiabetes causes damage to your blood vessels which also include the ones supplying oxygen-rich blood to your gums. Due to the reduction in the blood supply to the gums, the risk of contracting dental problems is high if you are a diabetic. A recent study found that one in three diabetics in India suffers from dental disorders such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Dental Problems from Diabetes

Diabetes not only affects your teeth, but also your gums, tongue, cheek and pallet. As a diabetic you are at a higher risk of developing these conditions:

1. Gingivitis – One of the most prevalent dental problems in diabetic patients, gingivitis causes your gums to redden, swell and bleed. The most common cause of this condition is plaque build-up.

TreatmentGingivitis can be treated by regular brushing and flossing. You should also get the plaque build-up removed by a dentist.

2. Periodontitis – This is a severe dental condition that could cause your gum to get pulled away from your teeth due to gingivitis. As a result, a gap forms between the gum and the teeth which get infected easily. This leads to bad breath and loosening of your teeth.

Treatment You must start the treatment for diabetes periodontal disease urgently. It can be cured by getting a deep cleanse of your gums and teeth from a dentist. This is further supplemented by a dose of antibiotics. In extreme cases, it is recommended to undergo gum surgery.

3. Xerostomia – In this condition, your mouth becomes abnormally dry. Xerostomia further damages your oral health by causing tooth decay.

TreatmentKeeping yourself hydrated is the first step to combating xerostomia. You can further prevent diabetes tooth decay through increasing your salivation by chewing sugar-free gum, using alcohol-free mouthwashes and avoiding breathing through the mouth.

Precautions for a diabetic to avoid dental disorders

Here are 6 tips to prevent dental complications of diabetes:

  1. Avoid drinking acidic beverages like soda and lemon water as they corrode the enamel of your teeth.
  2. Floss daily to get rid of accumulated plaque.
  3. Clean your tongue gently to remove any bacterial growth on it using a tongue scraper or a mild brush.
  4. Get yourself checked by a dentist at least twice a year.
  5. Stimulate saliva production by using mouth gels, or by chewing sugar-free gum, to avoid dry mouth caused by diabetes.
  6. Adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes a nutrient-rich diet and sufficient exercise to keep your blood sugar level in check.  

Uncontrolled diabetes is extremely harmful for your general and oral health. With the  precautions in place, keeping your teeth disease-free is going to be easy.

Discussing your diabetes status with your dentist shall give him a better
insight into the cause of your dental problems and also help in its treat-
ment.

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