When a person has diabetes, their entire body can be affected, including the teeth and gums. The good news is that prevention of gum disease and other oral problems is possible if you know what you are up against. Diabetes and dental health problems can be managed in more ways than you might imagine, even while at home. Advances in dental implant technology are also transforming the way teeth are cared for, with dental implants bringing a smile back to the faces of diabetes sufferers.
When someone suffers type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it becomes difficult to maintain blood sugar levels in the body. Managing your blood sugar is the key to avoiding or minimising diseases and ailments that include:
Tooth decay: When starches and sugars in foodstuffs react with bacteria in the mouth, plaque forms on the teeth, attacking the enamel and potentially leading to cavities and gum disease. Higher levels of blood sugar cause more acid that wears away at teeth.
Early gum disease: Diabetes diminishes your ability to counteract bacteria. Hard tartar can form under the gumline, causing irritation around the base of the teeth. This condition, known as gingivitis, causes swelling and bleeding.
Advanced gum disease: If left untreated, gingivitis can result in serious periodontitis, which destroys soft tissue and bone. Diabetes lowers a person’s ability to resist infection, while also slowing healing, making periodontitis a potentially severe ailment in diabetes sufferers.
Thrush: This is a fungal infection caused by the Candida albicans yeast. It is more likely in people with diabetes. Signs of thrush can include painful red or white patches inside the mouth.
Dry mouth: Dry mouth is experienced due to a lack of saliva and is common among people with diabetes. Saliva keeps the mouth moist while also bathing the teeth, and without sufficient saliva you may be susceptible to decay, disease or thrush.
What should my diabetes dental care routine look like?
Preventing damage to teeth and gums is important for anybody, while people with diabetes need to be extra vigilant. Here are a few tips.
- Make a commitment to managing diabetes. Blood sugar problems don’t manifest overnight, and poor health is often the result of years of neglect. However, if you have diabetes you will need to follow your doctor’s instructions and keep blood sugar levels safely within the target range.
- Regularly brush your teeth twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid harsh and vigorous scrubbing that can irritate gums. If you are struggling to reach difficult-to-access nooks and crannies, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush — they really do work wonders.
- Floss every day. This will help you remove the build-up of plaque from under your gumline. There are several varieties of floss available, so experiment with what suits you best.
- Inform your dentist that you have diabetes. You should also schedule regular dental appointments twice a year for check-ups and professional cleaning.
The other solution — dental implants
Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment that includes proper dental care. There are also situations where gum disease has advanced or teeth are damaged beyond repair, making dental implants the obvious solution. Dental care hasn’t always been prioritised as it is today, and there is an entire generation struggling with decay, missing teeth and ill-fitting dentures.
Anyone desiring a permanent alternative for addressing poor oral health will benefit from special All-On-4 Dental Implants from the Malo Clinic in Sydney. All-On-4 uses the minimal number of implants for supporting an entire arch of teeth. In only six to eight weeks after the procedure you will once again be able to enjoy hard, crunchy delicious foods, taking your diabetes restrictions into consideration of course.
Malo Clinic dental surgeons understand the relationship between diabetes and dental care. Your surgeon will guide you regarding the appropriate course of action for best oral hygiene, dental work, dietary adjustments or even replacing your broken and ineffective teeth with an entirely new and gleaming set. State-of-the-art equipment, specialist anaesthetists and the most experienced and qualified dental surgeons are on hand at the Malo Clinic, and they will give you plenty to smile about.