Diabetics Can Defend Their Fortress!

The Battlefield 

If you have diabetes, you know that it’s important to monitor your health. And a major part of the battle for your overall well-being is holding the line on good dental health, so it’s critical for you to defend your fortress! While you should continue to strive for a normal routine while managing your disease, know that oral bacterial adversaries are always ready for attack and thus you must have a plan and be prepared. 

Studies show diabetics are more susceptible to the development of oral infections and gum (periodontal) disease, especially those who have poor blood sugar control1. While some decay may be caused by reduced salivary flow, other problems can be the result of high blood sugar levels, which promote bacterial growth and encourage periodontal disease and cavities.  

Arm Yourself

Make sure to use all the weapons in your arsenal to defeat oral decay. It’s important for you to reduce plaque. After you have a meal, snack or beverage that contains sugars or starches, oral bacteria release acids that attack tooth enamel and plaque is born. Repeated attacks can cause enamel to break down and may eventually result in cavities. When not properly removed on a regular basis, plaque can eventually harden into battle armor — tartar. Tartar collection on your teeth can lead to chronic inflammation and infection in the mouth.

Plan the Attack

Preparation is one of your most steadfast weapons. There best time to receive dental care is when your blood sugar is under control, which both your dentist and physician can help you to monitor. Dental procedures should be as short and stress-free as possible. And it’s a good idea to make morning appointments because blood glucose levels tend to be under better control at this time of day. 

Get Ready to Rumble!

Your dentist is your best ally. He or she may arm you by prescribing antibiotics, medicated mouth rinses and suggest more frequent cleanings to help you avoid complications related to bacterial infections. To keep teeth and gums strong, be aware of your blood sugar levels and have your triglyceride and cholesterol levels checked regularly. These may have an impact on your risk of developing periodontal disease. Coupled with regular brushing, flossing and other good oral health habits, you’ll stand a better chance of avoiding formidable enemies such as gum disease or mouth infections.

The Finale

  • Reduce or eliminate sugars and starches from your diet; eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.
  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean once a day between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner to remove decay-causing plaque.
  • Keep teeth and gums strong by keeping track of blood sugar levels. Also, have your triglyceride and cholesterol levels monitored.
  • Treat dental infections immediately. Diabetics who combine good dental care with insulin control typically have a better chance of avoiding gum disease.
  • Provide your medical and oral health histories to both your medical and dental care providers. 

Sources:

1 American Academy of General Dentistry . How does diabetes affect my oral health?. Retrieved from October 26, 2012 from: www.agd.org.

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.