When you first receive a diagnosis of diabetes from your doctor, you may worry about the effect on your kidneys or lifestyle first. However, don't forget to consider how the disease affects your oral health or you'll end up with painful gums and missing teeth. Prevent the side effects of diabetes from ruining your gums and teeth by using these five techniques.
Take Gum Disease Seriously
Once you've got diabetes, you're at higher risk for developing serious gum disease. Conversely, there's also research showing gum disease makes it harder to control your blood glucose levels. Prevent gingivitis and gum disease from setting in by
- Flossing once a day every day to knock loose any food particles
- Brush two to three times a day to keep plaque from hardening into tartar, but don't scrub too hard or you'll abrade the gums
- Seeking treatment for jaw clenching and tooth grinding problems, both of which cause inflammation in the gums
- Rinse the mouth with clean water after each meal or snack, including sugary or acidic drinks
- Stop smoking or don't start.
If you notice bleeding or puffy gums, see a dentist immediately. Seeking emergency treatment for the earliest signs of gum disease is the only way to keep your glucose under control and prevent further damage.
Use Anti-Fungal Treatments
Uncontrolled diabetes leads to an accumulation of sugars in your saliva, which feeds the bad bacteria trying to take control in your mouth. These bacteria trigger a fungal infection known as thrush. You'll first notice bright white patches accumulating on your tongue, gums, and cheek walls. The patches will have a fuzzy look, and you'll experience a burning sensation and unpleasant taste in your mouth.
Keeping your blood glucose levels under control is the best way to prevent thrush from flaring up. However, you'll need antibiotics to kill off an active infection and restore your mouth's health.
Try Anti-Plaque Treatments
Plaque is the enemy of the diabetic dental patient because this sticky material goes hand in hand with damaging bacteria. If you don't promptly remove the fresh layers of plaque each, hard deposits of tartar form that trap bacteria further under the gums. Look for mouthwashes and pre-brushing rinses designed to loosen up plaque so that you're not left with residue. Don't skip your twice a year cleaning visits either, since the high speed polishing tools at the dentist's office do the best job of removing leftover plaque and tartar.
Remedy Dry Mouth
Dry mouth and a constant thirst are two of the first symptoms of diabetes many people notice. While it might seem like just a nuisance, a lack of saliva actually puts your teeth and gums at risk. Saliva washes acids and bacteria off the gums while coating the enamel with fresh layers of minerals to keep the teeth strong.
To reverse your dry mouth, try sugar-free hard candies and gums. You can also find saliva substitutes that coat your mouth in a healthy layer of gel, or mouthwashes that trigger your saliva glands to produce more moisture.
Avoid Gum Damage
Take extra care of your mouth tissues because diabetes slows down your natural healing abilities. Check your food's temperature before biting in to prevent burns, and skip snacks like sunflower seeds in the shell or crunchy tortilla chips that could cut your gums. Get your teeth checked for cavities regularly before infection reaches the root since a root canal or extraction is more difficult to recover from with diabetes.
Talk to your dentist about how your other health issues affect your mouth. Your dentist can customize your treatment plan to keep your teeth strong and healthy despite the side effects of diabetes. For more information visit resources like http://www.desmoines-dentalassociates.com.