What is Diabetes
Diabetes is an illness that affects thousands of people, both children and adults, each year. It causes high blood sugar that isn’t controlled by the body’s own insulin production and requires outside assistance in form of medications.
What are its effects
When the blood sugar is elevated and uncontrolled the body reacts in ways that damages the arterial and venous blood vessels, which can result in a higher risk for peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, stroke, blindness, and infertility.
One of the other side effects of an increased amount of blood sugar floating around the body is that the body becomes a breeding ground for infection, including the mouth. There has been research to suggest that people with diabetes often have an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Scientists believe that gum disease can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and activate cells that produce an inflammatory response that can in turn damage or destroy the cells in the body that produce insulin.
People with diabetes who also smoke are at an even higher risk for thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking appears to decrease the blood flow to the gums that affects wound healing.
Diabetes and Dental Care
People with diabetes, should therefore be fastidious with their oral hygiene, especially if they smoke. Brushing should be done at least three times each day and optimally not more than 5 minutes after each time you eat.
Flossing and brushing is very important to decrease the amount of bacteria that commonly lives in the mouth. These bacteria can increase the risk of dry mouth, gum inflammation, bad breath, poor healing of oral tissues and a burning mouth or tongue. When flossing, you should ensure that you get behind the last tooth on the upper and lower jaws.
Diabetes dental care involves being very consistent with dental hygiene and also adequate control of your blood glucose. Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of: tooth decay, early gum disease (gingivitis), advanced gum disease (periodontitis), thrush(an infection that is caused by a fungal growth in the mouth) and dry mouth.
If you are diabetic, scheduling a dental appointment at least twice a year is also of paramount importance. You dentist will look for any signs of cavities and gum disease and prevent the damage to your teeth and gums.
Note to Remember
You need to inform the dentist about your condition and give them an idea of how well your diabetes is controlled. Every time you visit your dentist, remind him or her that you have diabetes. Make sure your dentist has contact information for your doctor who helps you manage your diabetes.
It will prevent you from becoming hypoglycaemic in the middle of a procedure and give you a peace of mind that in case your blood sugar drops or rises, you will be well taken care of.