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Diabetes Outlook

The Importance of Oral Care

We might not enjoy brushing & flossing, but it’s a very important health care routine for people with diabetes. You may not realize that your blood sugar levels affect your oral health. It's important to keep your blood sugar under good control and take care of your teeth and gums. That way, you'll be less likely to have the following issues:

  • Gum disease
    You may have a greater risk of developing gum disease if you don’t keep your blood sugar levels under good control. That's because diabetes reduces your body’s ability to fight bacteria. It can form on your teeth and gums, forming plaque. This sticky film can cause tooth decay and lead to gum disease. Bleeding gums can be a sign that you have a problem. If your gum disease becomes advanced, you might have pain and even lose one or more teeth.

  • Cavities
    The same bacteria that causes plaque can also lead to cavities. Plaque contains acids that attack the surfaces of your teeth and cause tooth decay. If your blood sugar level isn’t under good control, you have more sugars that can contribute to cavities.

  • Dry mouth
    If you have diabetes, you may also have a dry mouth. Some medicines you take might cause this. Food and bacteria may stay on your teeth and gums instead of getting washed away. You'll be more likely to develop issues such as sores in your mouth, infections, and tooth decay.

  • Thrush
    You may be more likely to develop thrush. This is an infection in your mouth and tongue. It's more likely to happen if your saliva contains a lot of sugar.

What You Can Do

  • Keep your blood sugar levels under good control.
    This is very important and will help improve your overall health. Your doctor will tell you where your blood sugar levels should ideally be. A good, balanced diet and exercise can help you keep your levels under control. Taking any medicine your doctor has prescribed will also help. Finally, test your blood sugar as directed by your doctor. That way, you'll know if you need to change your diet, medicine, or exercise plan to help lower it.

  • Brush at least twice a day, and floss once a day.
    Brushing and flossing are important for everyone. They're even more important for people with diabetes. Brush in the morning and at night. Brush after you eat to help get rid of plaque. If you can't, rinse your mouth with water instead. Also floss once a day.

  • Visit your dentist regularly.
    You should see your dentist at least every six months. Let him or her know you have diabetes and what medicines you take. You may need to visit your dentist more often if your blood sugar is regularly too high or if you have other problems. In between visits, check your mouth regularly for issues like puffy gums. If you see any problems, you may need to see your dentist before your next regular visit.

Summing It Up

As someone with diabetes, you’ll need to make sure you take good care of your teeth and gums. This isn’t hard, though. Keep your blood sugar levels in a good range, and get the dental care you need. This can help improve your diabetes and your overall health.

The contents of DiabetesOutlook.com are intended solely for informational purposes and do not replace the advice of your physician or diabetes care team. You should not rely on any information provided by DiabetesOutlook.com without also consulting your physician. DiabetesOutlook.com maintains all information collected in accordance with applicable law.

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