If you have diabetes, you're probably well aware of the impact this disease can have on your general health, but did you know it can also impact your oral health? People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing oral health problems, like gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss. General dentistry treatments can restore oral health and prevent problems to begin with, helping diabetic patients enjoy a healthy smile for years to come. To learn more about dental care and diabetics, schedule a consultation with our Ridgewood, NJ team at Ridgewood Dental Associates.
Why Is Dental Care Important for Diabetics?
Good dental care is particularly important for diabetics because diabetics, especially those with uncontrolled diabetes, are more susceptible to oral health issues. A good dental care routine, along with keeping blood sugar levels under control, can help diabetics reduce their risk of many of the oral health problems common to diabetic patients, including:
- Gum disease: Gum disease poses many risks to oral health. In the early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, the gums may appear inflamed and bleed when brushing and flossing. If the signs of gingivitis are ignored, gum disease will progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to pockets forming between the gums and teeth. These pockets will grow as plaque, food remnants, and bacteria collect in the pockets. This can lead to gum recession, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
- Dry mouth: Dry mouth, a lack of saliva production, is a common problem amongst diabetics. Dry mouth can causes ulcers, oral infections, and increases the risk of tooth decay.
- Tooth decay: Diabetics are particularly vulnerable to tooth decay as they are at increased risk of both gum disease and dry mouth.
- Tooth loss: Tooth loss may occur as a result of severe gum disease or tooth decay, both of which are common problems for diabetics.
- Oral thrush: Oral thrush, also called oral candidiasis, is a fungal infection that causes white lesions to develop on the tongue, inner cheeks, gums, and even the roof of the mouth.
Dental Care Tips for Diabetics
Maintaining a healthy smile requires more than practicing good oral hygiene habits. Those with diabetes also need to keep their blood sugar levels under control through diet and medication as directed by their primary care physician. In addition to keeping diabetes under control, diabetic patients can help ensure a healthy smile by following these dental care tips.
- Practice good oral hygiene: Practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, is especially important for those with diabetes as they are at increased risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash: Rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing is also beneficial for diabetics because it can lower the risk of gum disease.
- Rinse with water after meals: Rinsing with water after meals and between brushings can wash away food remnants and neutralize acids within the mouth, especially for those who suffer from dry mouth.
- See your dentist for regular exams and cleanings: Seeing your dentist every six months for a regular check-up and cleaning can help prevent damage before it happens or catch oral health issues at their earliest stages.
Enjoy a Healthy Smile with Treatment from Ridgewood Dental Associates
Our team at Ridgewood Dental Associates offers a variety of treatments to keep your oral health on track. To find out which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation today.